The 73rd World Health Assembly

Thursday, 11 June 2020

During the first ever virtual format of The 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA), delegates adopted a landmark resolution to bring the world together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic by endorsing  the call for the intensification of efforts to bring the pandemic under control and for equitable access to and fair distribution of all essential health technologies and products to combat the virus.

The 73rd World Health Assembly was a tense and de minimis affair when compared to previous WHAs. It was a historic event for the wrong reasons. For the first time not by choice but forced through circumstance, it had to be conducted remotely through a virtual platform. Gone was its celebrative and joyous mood that had seen a global festival of good health gather on the shores of Lake Geneva each year for the past 72 years.

IAPO felt the loss as we could not meet and greet old friends and health teams from the many Ministries of Health who have supported patient centricity in health systems in Member States. One of the greatly missed component was the gatherings and networking of the hundreds of civil society groups in the Serpentine Lake Café in the United Nations Palace of Nations. To the background calls of the ubiquitous peacocks in the United Nations Gardens, the civil society always had robust discussions and developed innovative health strategies and advocacy programmes. 2020 was indeed an annus horribilis in the global health community and this prestigious international health organisation’s history.

IAPO attended the virtual meeting and we cannot put into words the pain and passion expressed by the Member States, especially the Health Ministers from countries in the eye of the COVID-19 pandemic and those from low- and middle-income countries. For this reason, IAPO has provide you with links that give you access to this first-hand.

You must listen to health ministries and read their speeches. These interventions were prepared with great deliberation by your country’s health teams, please find and listen to them on the links given.

Opening Address of WHO Director General Full Text

Statement by Prime Minister Mia Motley Barbados on behalf of CARICOM, PAHO and Small Island State Nation

Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on behalf of African Union

Statement by President Xi Jinping Peoples Republic of China 

Statement by President Emmanuel Macron France

Statement by Chancellor Angela Merkel Germany

Statement by President Moon Jae-In South Korea

Closing Remarks by WHO Director General Full Text


Further information