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Sixty-seventh World Health Assembly closes after passing multiple resolutions

Delegates at the World Health Assembly (WHA) which took place from 19 – 24 May, adopted more than 20 resolutions on public health issues of global importance.

The WHA, held annually in Geneva, is the supreme decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). Attended by delegations from all WHO Member States, the meeting focused on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.

The WHA opened with the election of Dr. Roberto Tomas Morales Ojeda, Cuba’s Minister of Public Health, as its new President. Five vice-presidents were also appointed from Bahrain, Congo, Fiji, Lithuania, and Sri Lanka, representing their respective regions.

In her opening address to the Health Assembly, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan voiced her deep concern about the increase worldwide of childhood obesity, with numbers climbing fastest in developing countries. To gather the best possible advice on dealing with this crisis, Dr Chan announced that she has established a high-level Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.

Dr. Chan challenged the Health Assembly to consider the potential impact on health worldwide of the changing poverty map – with 70 percent of the world’s poor living in middle-income countries with emerging economies. She alerted delegates to the importance of addressing climate change. The impact of climate on important social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter was discussed during the opening plenary debate.

The WHA focused on another area of HEAL’s interest – the public health impacts of exposure to mercury. The Assembly requested the WHO Secretariat to provide expert advice to help health ministries implement the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Most mercury is released as a result of human activity, such as burning coal and waste and mining for mercury, gold and other metals. The WHO considers mercury one of the top ten chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern.

More information available here.

Last updated on 27 June 2014

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