[AspirantWorld Indepth] 73rd World Health Assembly

• The 73rd session of WHA (World Health Assembly) for the first time was held virtually from May 18 to 19. Under the leadership of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO.
• Normally the WHA is held for two weeks but due to the ongoing global pandemic, it was reduced to a two-day session.
• Held virtually from Geneva; the headquarter of WHA. The convention was attended by 194 member states virtually.

What is the World Health Assembly?

• The World Health Assembly is the pivotal decision-making body of the (WHO) World Health Organisation, attended by representatives of the United Nations 194-member state annually.
• The members of the WHA generally meet every year in May in Geneva at the Palace of Nations, the location of WHO Headquarters. The main tasks of the WHA are to decide major policy questions, as well as to approve the WHO work programme and budget and elect its Director-General (every fifth year) and elect ten members to renew part of its Executive Board. Its main functions are to determine the policies of the Organization, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.

What is the Executive Board in WHO?

• Comprising of 34 individuals who are highly qualified in the field of health, each one designated by a Member State elected to do so by the World Health Assembly. Member States are elected for three-year terms.
• The Board meets at least twice a year; the main meeting is normally in January, with a second shorter meeting in May, immediately after the Health Assembly.
• The main functions of the Executive Board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly, to advise it and generally to facilitate its work.
• Dr Hiroki Nakatani is the current chairman of the executive board.

What was the main agenda and key proposal in the 73rd Convention?

• The 73rd WHA was dedicated almost entirely to strengthening global coordination against the Covid-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 4.7 million people and killed 315,000.
• Countries including India, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, UK and Canada accepted a resolution asking for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) response to the pandemic as well as the identification of the “zoonotic” source of the coronavirus.
• The origin of the virus is currently believed to be a wet market in Wuhan, China. 116 of the 194 member states were in favour of the resolution.

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