World Federation of Public Health Associations

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WHA75 Constituency statements

Agenda Item: 
16.2 Strengthening WHO preparedness for and response to health emergencies

Because the actors involved in any response to a future pandemic are varied, for such an instrument to be effective, it must result from strong multilateralism, with equal respect and participation afforded to all partners involved, including non-state organizations committed to the public interest.
It must embrace the wide range of individuals, communities, governments, and the private sector necessary to prevent epidemics and strengthen social protection and health systems, including the protection of the workforce’s health – a workforce that extends beyond the health professions, such as doctors, nurses, and social workers, and includes service workers, such as bus drivers, janitors, and supermarket clerks. It must also include environmental health officers, who are increasingly necessary in an ailing world.
For any Pandemic Treaty to be effective, it must likewise centre community engagement, educate and involve community members, employ effective communication strategies throughout, and thereby foster trust — without public confidence in the process and its policies, any instrument is doomed to fail.
Moreover, the Treaty must ensure an equitable distribution of resources, from financial assistance to vaccine access, knowledge sharing and technology transfer. It must safeguard the health of the marginalized.
Further, it must acknowledge that any instrument needs to integrate palliative care into primary health care, including the training of healthcare workers and the availability of related medicines to all – regardless of economic status – and thereby ensure that those already affected by other diseases, and those who cannot be saved, are guaranteed a dignified death.
It must ensure that preparedness and response interventions are environmentally sustainable and in line with climate commitments
Lastly, for the instrument to be meaningful, it requires accountability and transparency mechanisms.