The World Health Organisation (WHO) has appointed India's health secretary Rajesh Bhushan as the chair of a key committee that will prepare a report on WHO reforms, among other topics, for the World Health Assembly (WHA), the highest decision making body that consists of its 194 member countries and meets every year.
The 75th WHA is currently being held in Geneva, Switzerland, from May 22 to 28. It is the first in-person Health Assembly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The theme of this year's Health Assembly is "Health for peace, peace for health".
The newly formed WHO committee, one among the two committees that forms the backbone of WHA proceedings, primarily discusses administrative and financial matters of the WHO. Called "Committee B", it will discuss and prepare reports on many important issues which includes health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory including east Jerusalem and in the occupied Syrian Golan. The Budget for WHO for year 2022-2023, Prevention of sexual exploitation, WHO reforms, Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property, audit report of WHO, Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property and intergovernmental organisations issues are the topics that will come within the scope of the committee.
Addressing the 75th session of WHA on May 23, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya had highlighted the need to build a resilient global supply chain to enable equitable access to vaccines and medicines, streamlining WHO's approval process for vaccines and therapeutics and strengthen WHO to build a more resilient global health security architecture. The minister had also raised India's objection to the recent WHO report on the country's Covid-19 mortality as he felt the country specific authentic data published by India's statutory authority was disregarded while arriving at WHO's conclusions.
Meanwhile, the other committee "Committee A" will meet to debate technical and health matters. The critical issues that committee will look into will include Pandemic Preparedness and Response, Amendment in International Health Regulations 2005, WHO work in health emergency, Global Strategy for HIV, TB, Viral hepatitis and eradication of polio, Immunisation agenda 2030, Infection prevention and control and Human resources for health.