Arab Health Ministers Speech Addresses Regional Crises at WHO Assembly

Amman, May 28 (Petra) – Minister of Health Firas Hawari delivered a unified speech on behalf of the Council of Arab Ministers of Health at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 77th World Health Assembly, which began Monday in Geneva.

According to a Tuesday statement from the Ministry of Health, Jordan was selected to chair Committee B, one of two committees addressing the Assembly’s topics.

The committee, chaired by Hawari, will discuss health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Golan Heights, along with other financial and administrative matters and reports issued by the WHO Director-General. These sessions will continue until June 1.

In his address, Hawari thanked the WHO, its Director-General, and the Executive Board for their efforts in coordinating and leading international health initiatives aimed at achieving sustainable development goals. He acknowledged the thorough preparation for this session’s work.

The speech highlighted the crises affecting the Arab region, beginning with the aggression against the Gaza Strip, which was described as a genocidal act against defenseless civilians, including children, women, and the elderly.

The Council condemned these actions, which have violated international norms and laws, affecting humanitarian workers and depriving people of their right to life and health.

The Council commended efforts to end the aggression in Gaza, facilitate humanitarian aid, and protect health workers, aligning with the Health and Peace Initiative.

It also welcomed the WHO Executive Board’s decisions from its seventh special session in December 2023, which addressed health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and supported Palestine’s bid for full UN membership.

The speech also addressed health challenges in other Arab countries. It highlighted the dire situation in Sudan, where millions have been displaced, exacerbating the spread of epidemics and child malnutrition. It emphasized the need for concerted efforts in Yemen to provide health services and prevent epidemic outbreaks in conflict areas.

Attention was drawn to the discriminatory policies in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, which violate international principles and laws, impeding the right to health. The speech called for increased support from organizations to help neighboring countries manage the health and humanitarian burdens of migrant and refugee influxes.

The Arab League’s commitment to supporting comprehensive health coverage and resilient healthcare systems in Arab countries was underscored. The speech stressed the importance of addressing contemporary health issues, such as infection control, pandemic response, antibiotic resistance, and the health impacts of climate change.

It also highlighted the need to focus on non-communicable diseases, reproductive health, and the computerization of health services.

In conclusion, the Arab health ministers expressed hope that the 77th session would have a lasting impact on strengthening health systems and affirming the right to health for all, particularly in occupied Palestine and Gaza.

//Petra// AO
28/05/2024 12:17:36