Will the world’s premier health organization be able to reform itself to revive its global health leadership in the years ahead? Such was undoubtedly the question on the mind of health officials and civil society from around the world as they attended the 64th World Health Assembly (WHA) last month, the World Health Organization’s annual meeting of its governance body, comprised of all 193 of its Member States.
With WHO reform the marquee item on a crowded agenda that touched on many of the most pressing global health issues, this seemed destined to be a historic WHA.
And in some ways, it was – though at least in part, due to another issue. As the 2003 WHA secured its place in history by adopting the first global health treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and the 2005 WHA adopted the revised International Health Regulations, the 2011 WHA set the stage for greater international cooperation in responding to novel influenza viruses by adopting the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework.
Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework
Despite being non-binding, and frankly underwhelming, it does for the first time set up a three-pronged global process of increase access of people in developing countries to vaccines and antiviral medication: 1) voluntary vaccine donations by vaccine manufacturers to a WHO stockpile to be used primarily in developing countries; 2) tiered pricing for vaccines and antivirals, and; 3) technology transfer for vaccines and antivirals. Manufacturers are also expected to contribute financially to support WHO’s global influenza surveillance and response system. READ MORE »