June 4, 2024

WHO: Health for all?

RLS Geneva

The theme of the 77th World Health Assembly is “All for health, health for all.” In his opening speech, Dr. Tedros stated, “The past years have been tumultuous. However, we refused to give up. Faced with multiple crises, we still see a future of health and peace—a future reached through a stronger, better-funded WHO.”

But in a world beset by multiple crises—including pandemics, conflicts, geopolitical tensions,  financial instability, and a deeply weakened multilateral system—how can the WHO fulfill its mission to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable?

The WHO faces a precarious struggle for sovereignty amidst mounting challenges. The encroachment of neoliberal economics, the influence of transnational corporations, and the dominance of powerful nations threaten its autonomy, capacity to act, and ultimately its legitimacy in the multilateral system. To navigate these challenges, the WHO must be empowered through stronger political support from member states and civil society, enhanced and more transparent mechanisms for global cooperation and increased and more flexible funding.

Addressing these issues is vital for the WHO to continue its mission of safeguarding global health, ensuring right to health and effectively managing future health emergencies. Let‘s strive to preserve WHO role in ensuring right to health for all!