The Future of Global Health: Outcomes from the 66th World Health Assembly

By Johanna Harvey | May 30, 2013

How will the World Health Assembly’s call for renewed focus on public health in 2014 affect the battle to eliminate pediatric HIV?

WHA

The 66th World Health Assembly (WHA) concluded with a call for several significant shifts in focus, budget, and overall public health goals for 2014 and beyond. A few of the key outcomes from this year’s meeting include:

But what do these new targets mean for the global fight again HIV/AIDS, which was conspicuously not included in the full list of formal resolutions? While at first glance it may seem HIV/AIDS has been left out, especially because the new budget includes a proposed 5.1 percent overall spending cut for HIV/AIDS emergency response, the reality is that HIV/AIDS is part of nearly every new resolution put forth over the past week.

As we often discuss on the EGPAF blog, HIV/AIDS is intrinsically linked to other diseases and public health challenges such as cervical cancer, tuberculosis, and NTDs (just to name a few). The effort to eliminate HIV/AIDS is also crucial to achieving the health-related MDGs, especial MDG 5, improving maternal and child health, and MDG 6, combating HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis, and malaria. In addition, new resolutions, such as a focus on e-Health, will drastically improve the way health professionals can diagnose, communicate with, and monitor HIV-positive patients—especially for pregnant women and mothers as we begin to scale-up life-long treatment as part of preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services.

Even the GVAP could have far-reaching implications for the HIV/AIDS community. As GVAP members work to access underserved communities around the world, its efforts could give those vulnerable communities access to current HIV/AIDS treatments. The GVAP also calls for increased research and development initiatives for new vaccines, which could potentially support a vaccine for HIV.

While there appears to be a new focus coming out this year’s WHA, HIV/AIDS elimination continues to play a crucial role in several of the 2013 WHA resolutions. As U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius mentioned in the opening plenary session on May 20, achieving an AIDS-free generation is a still top priority for the WHO, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and country-governments around the world.

Johanna Harvey is Senior Communications Officer for the Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.