The fourth day of the World Health Assembly began with the meeting of the Group of the Americas (GRUA), which brings together the 33 countries of the American States, which was chaired by the representative of Brazil, Ambassador Guilherme Patriota. The meeting aims to coordinate the positions of the countries of the region, to review the agenda and to share information. For example, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carina Etienne, discussed the issue of yellow fever and how it is working with Brazil to mitigate the risks of an urban epidemic.
Today also meant the beginning of work in Commission B, one of the areas where the proposals are analyzed at the summit. The first topic of the commission was the health situation of Palestine and the occupied areas, and after matters related to the financing of the World Health Organization.
Meanwhile, in Commission A, the global polio situation was discussed, including cases of shortages of vaccines and funding gaps that may occur if the disease eradication program is discontinued.
A report on the global situation of poliomyelitis was presented, with important achievements towards eradication in 2020. In the world in 2007, 37 cases of paralytic poliomyelitis from wild poliovirus were reported in the world, compared to 74 reported in 2015. All of these Cases were reported in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, and were caused by wild type 1 poliovirus. By 2017, a case of wild poliovirus polio had been reported as of 8 February. Also in 2016, three cases of circulating poliovirus type 1 virus of vaccine origin in the Lao People‘s Democratic Republic were reported, compared to 32 cases of circulating polioviruses of vaccine origin reported by seven countries in 2015.
At the meeting, Canada intervened on behalf of all the countries of the Americas and the European Union, which included a total of 77 countries. The statement congratulated those responsible for the Program for the immense achievements made, but regretted the failure to meet the challenge of eliminating the jungle version of the disease until 2016. The recent cases in Nigeria demonstrated the Resistance of the virus and the primordial role of robust health systems, which must have a strong surveillance system and response capabilities, he said. It also recommended working with initiatives such as GAVI and vaccine manufacturers to minimize the shortage of inactivated polio vaccines, which has prevented the introduction of the vaccine globally.
Another issue addressed was an update of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework. The representative of Paraguay expressed her understanding that, after 5 years, there is a need to improve the communication mechanisms of the results of its implementation, and to strengthen laboratory monitoring capabilities. On the other hand, he said that it is important to strengthen regional strategies for the exchange of biological materials.
The Commission also addressed the outcome of a report of the High-level Commission on Health and Economic Growth, which was mandated by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2016. Based on the findings of the report, the 140th Committee Executive Board requested the Director-General of WHO to establish a Five-Year Plan of Action on Health Human Resources.
The delegate of Argentina stated that her country supported the points mentioned in the Plan, in particular the creation of the Global Health Personnel Network, coordinated by WHO, which will be a transversal link mechanism, adding that it recognizes the influence Of the health personnel in the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Objectives.
Tomorrow, among the topics on the agenda, are the continuation of the debate on antimicrobial resistance, the implementation of the International Health Regulations and the resolution on the promotion of the health of refugees and migrants. The last two are being prepared in informal consultation meetings.
In addition, several prizes will be awarded in a solemn session in plenary to one or more persons, institutions or non-governmental organizations for their innovative work in health development.