Task Force at 77th World Health Assembly

The Task Force for Global Health participated in the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA) at the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva from May 26 – 31. With special designation as a non-State actor (NSA) in official relations with the WHO, Task Force representatives contributed to discussions that draw upon program strengths and experiences, including pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPPR), neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and antimicrobial resistance.

During WHA sessions with WHO Member States, Task Force staff offered statements and calls-to-action on these topics. Task Force President and CEO Dr. Patrick O’Carroll, Task Force Director of Global and Federal Affairs Emily Conron, and Dr. George Shakarishvili, Director of Strategic and Technical Initiatives for The Task Force’s Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET)  program, attended WHA 77.

Two Task Force programs, TEPHINET and the Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination (CGHE) supported WHA77 side events with partners.

Read below for details on the statements and the events.

The Task Force has been a non-State actor in official relations with the WHO since 2018, participating in WHA sessions focused on the COVID-19 response, the NTD Roadmap 2030, Immunization Agenda 2030, global health sector strategies on HIV, viral hepatitis, STIs, and polio eradication.

Day 1 – Sunday, May 26

TEPHINET and Task Force leadership participated in a side event entitled “The Global Health Emergency Corps: Collective Preparedness for Coordinated Outbreak Response.”

Day 4 – Wednesday, May 29

Task Force Director of Global and Federal Affairs Emily Conron delivered an NSA statement on agenda item 11.6, Road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030, reflecting Task Force expertise on NTDs. 

NSA statement on agenda item 11.6, Road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030, reflecting Task Force expertise on NTDs:

The Task Force for Global Health is dedicated to eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) through drug donations, operational research, and collaboration, aligned with the NTD Road Map. To accelerate and sustain progress, we urge WHO and Member States to prioritize services for NTDs in universal health coverage objectives, and ensure the transition of care for persons affected by NTDs to the primary health care system when elimination as a public health problem has been validated. As NTDs target the most underserved and hard to reach populations, UHC can be evaluated by its ability to reach those affected by NTDs with comprehensive services: from prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, to long term care and psychosocial support. The Task Force stands committed to support WHO and Member States in the pursuit of these ambitious but essential aims.

Task Force Director of Global and Federal Affairs Emily Conron delivered an NSA statement on agenda item 11.6, Road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030, reflecting Task Force expertise on NTDs. Photo courtesy of Emily Conron.

Task Force leadership participated in a side event co-sponsored by The Task Force’s Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination entitled “People-centered care as the Key to Achieving Universal Health Coverage.” The event emphasized the crucial role of people-centered care in enhancing health systems, reducing service access inequalities, and achieving universal health coverage. The art gallery reception showcased artwork highlighting the importance of community leadership and inclusive partnerships with those who have lived experience. Dr. Nida Ali, CGHE HERO Fellow, highlighted the successes of the LHEAP (The Local Hepatitis Elimination and Prevention Program) Project. LHEAP brings testing and treatment for hepatitis B and C through a decentralized care model that relies on community outreach and a flexible approach to meet people where they are to reduce health inequity, strengthen epidemiological surveillance, and ensure the production of quality data in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. 

From left to right: Task Force Director of Global and Federal Affairs Emily Conron, CGHE HERO Fellow Dr. Nida Ali, and Task Force President and CEO Dr. Patrick O'Carroll. Photo courtesy of Emily Conron.

Day 5 – Thursday, May 30

TEPHINET Director of Strategic and Technical Initiatives Dr. George Shakarishvili delivered an NSA statement highlighting the critical importance of the global field epidemiology workforce during the discussion of agenda items on public health emergencies.

NSA statement highlighting the critical importance of the global field epidemiology workforce during the discussion of agenda items on public health emergencies:

The Task Force for Global Health commends Member States and WHO for the progress made in strengthening systems for pandemic preparedness and response despite a challenging global context. We echo WHO’s statement that “there is a need for responses in humanitarian contexts to not only meet the urgent short-term health needs but also to build strategic resilience. We recommend the following actions:

  • Accelerate health workforce development to increase national and global capacities for pandemic preparedness and response, other health emergencies and essential public health functions;
  • Continue supporting over 85 Field Epidemiology Training Programs and scale-up investments to further enhance national and global capacities in detecting disease outbreaks;    
  • Strengthen National Public Health Institutes to ensure multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral approach to addressing public health emergencies; 
  • Continue supporting the Global Health Emergency Corps to scale-up surge workforce capacity for emerging global health challenges.
TEPHINET Director of Strategic and Technical Initiatives Dr. George Shakarishvili delivered an NSA statement highlighting the critical importance of the global field epidemiology workforce during the discussion of agenda items on public health emergencies. Photo courtesy of Emily Conron.

Header Image Photo Credit: konferenzadhs via Canva

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