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Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly: daily notes on proceedings

Notes: Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Ageing and health

Ageing and health experts from Australia, Italy, Japan and the UK, four countries with large populations of older people, described steps under way to adopt more age-friendly approaches and improve the health of older people. They highlighted the value of involving a range of sectors and in establishing integrated community care systems. The session stressed the need to focus on the person, not the disease (particularly as many people have more than one disease). This calls for good case management, interlinked services that address medical and functional issues and care for both acute and chronic conditions, and a rigorous comprehensive scheme for assessing medical and social needs.

Programme budget and financial matters

Delegates discussed the 2010-2011 programme budget and its performance assessment. They appreciated the more extensive results-based planning, recognizing WHO as one of the front-runners in this field. They also found the detailed information and evidence of actual measurable impact in countries useful. They emphasized the importance of accountability and assessment of methodology in reporting.

They approved a resolution (Document A65/45) accepting the Director-General's Financial Report and Audited Financial Statements for the period 1 January 2010-31 December 2011.

Audit and oversight matters

The External Auditor's report was approved, with the Health Assembly noting that compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards is strengthening WHO's transparency and accountability.

Occupied Palestinian territory

Committee B approved a resolution on improving health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Future of WHO’s governance and financing

Member States are now fully engaged in guiding and advancing the WHO reform which was initiated by the Director-General, and made all the more urgent because of the global financial crisis. Civil society members at the Health Assembly said WHO should ensure that the reform process continues to be consultative, transparent and collaborative. Important cross-cutting areas and principles such as social, economic, and environmental determinants of health, equity and the right to health should remain in focus.

NGOs noted that WHO should develop a strengthened framework to address interactions with all constituencies, in order to manage conflicts of interests and reputational risks systematically and transparently. The ultimate objective of financing agreed institutional priorities was highlighted as an important issue. The current restrictions on flexible and predictable financing represent a major impediment to the Organization carrying out its work effectively.

“Double burden” of nutrition

Wide support was expressed in Committee A for the need to improve the nutrition of mothers, infants and young children. Several countries referred to the need to address the “double burden” of under- and over-nutrition throughout the life-course, and stressed the need for a multi-sectoral approach, including education and social welfare. Some specific suggestions were made on amendments to the targets in the draft comprehensive implementation plan. Discussion on this agenda item will continue on Thursday.