Screen Shot 2019-05-18 at 15.35.38.pngSunday, 19 May 2019 | 15:00 – 18:00
Auditorium Ivan Pictet, Maison de la paix

The 72nd session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) takes place from 20th to 28th May 2019 in Geneva. This annual introductory briefing for WHA delegates and other participants aims to maximise participation of a wide-range of stakeholders in the Assembly’s work by highlighting its relevance and welcoming WHO and other experts involved in selected key issue.

15:00 – 15:15 | Welcome

Ilona Kickbusch, Director, Global Health Centre, the Graduate Institute
John E. Lange, Ambassador; Senior Fellow for Global Health Diplomacy, United Nations Foundation

2019: Global health disruptions – What is at stake – Ilona Kickbusch

15:15 – 15:30 | WHA procedures and Governance
Gian Luca Burci, Adjunct Professor, the Graduate Institute; Senior Fellow, Global Health Centre; Former Legal Counsel, WHO

15:30 – 16:30 | Panel Discussion: Transforming the WHO – What are the Implications?
WHO Representative
Anders Nordström, Ambassador for Global Health, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden
Socorro Flores Liera, Ambassador; Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva
Christopher Elias, President, Global Development Programme, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Mareike Haase, International Health Policy Advisor, Bread for the World
Moderator: Ilona Kickbusch

16:30 – 17:50 | 72nd World Health Assembly: What is at Stake

Health emergencies – Jaouad Mahjour, Assistant Director-General, Emergency Preparedness and International Health Regulations, WHO
Achieving Universal Health Coverage and Plans for the UN High-Level Meeting on UHC – Ranieri Guerra, Assistant Director-General, Lead for UN High-Level Meeting on UHC, WHO
The Nagoya Protocol: its public health implications and its impact on seasonal virus sharing – Steven Solomon, Principal Legal Officer for Governing Bodies, WHO
Improving the transparency of markets for medicines, vaccines and other health-related technologies – Andrew Rintoul, Scientist, Access to Medicines, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals, WHO
Antimicrobial resistance – Hanan H. Balkhy, Assistant Director-General for Antimicrobial resistance, WHO
Moderator: John E. Lange

17:50 – 18:00 | Closing
Ilona Kickbusch and John E. Lange

Join us from 14:30 for a networking coffee.

For those of you who will be attending or following the World Health Assembly, the preliminary daily journal is available at An updated journal will be posted daily on the WHO website. The UN Foundation has posted a listing of unofficial side events at

The Assembly will be webcast live, including the plenary sessions and the deliberations in Committees A and B. The proceedings can be followed at:

To follow the WHA-World Health Assembly from the standpoint of not-for-profit civil society, you may look at our website where our General Secretary Thomas Schwartz of Medicus Mundi is doing a great job with a calendar of events, discussions, along with the People’s Health Movement.

The World Health Assembly convenes 20-28 May at WHO, Geneva. Daily news on WHA is available here:

If any HIFA members are planning to attend, please do share your observations by sending email to:

I would like to highlight that the WHA will include consideration of the draft resolution on Community health workers delivering primary health care: opportunities and challenges.

The Resolution ‘URGES all Member States, as appropriate to local and national contexts and with the objective of the success of primary health care and the achievement of universal health coverage:
(1) to align the design, implementation, performance and evaluation of community health worker programmes, including through greater use of digital technology, with the consolidated evidence presented in the WHO guideline on health policy and system support to optimize community health worker programmes, with specific emphasis on implementing these programmes to enable community health workers to deliver safe and high-quality care;
(2) to adapt as appropriate and support implementation of the WHO guideline on health policy and system support to optimize community health worker programmes at national level as part of national health workforce and broader health sector, employment and economic development strategies, in line with national priorities, resources, and specificities;
(3) to strengthen the relevance, effectiveness and implementation of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel, including cooperation with health ministries, civil service commissions, and employers to deliver fair terms for health workers and a positive practice environment to enable their effective deployment, retention and adequate motivation to deliver high-quality care and build a positive relationship with patients…’

Read in full here: