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World Health Assembly set to tackle key health issues

HIV/AIDS, SARS, the global strategy on diet, physical activity and health, and road safety among issues for countries at the Fifty-seventh World Health Assembly opening Monday

The Fifty-seventh World Health Assembly, bringing the 192 Member States of the World Health Organization together, is set to consider several critical health issues next week. The Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body for WHO, and runs this year from 17 - 22 May. It will discuss actions needed to fight HIV/AIDS, to increase safety on the world's roads, a proposed strategy on diet, physical activity and health, a proposed strategy for reproductive health, a resolution on family health, and will receive updates on progress in eradicating polio, controlling measles and SARS. Keynote addresses will also be given by former Presidents Kim Dae-jung of the Republic of Korea, and Jimmy Carter of the United States of America.

"There are many health challenges we must overcome, including detecting emerging, new diseases, combating those which have been with us for decades, and the risks linked to unhealthy diet. The World Health Assembly is the forum for countries to decide on health priorities, and to give direction on how these can be addressed," said Dr LEE Jong-wook, Director-General of the WHO at a briefing with journalists today. "All of our health work must ultimately serve to strengthen health systems. That is the way countries can sustain progress in public health."

Below is a list of agenda items and issues which may be of interest to journalists. Accompanying documents and background information can be found at the World Health Assembly documentation web site.

An updated World Health Assembly Journal is posted daily also at the World Health Assembly documentation web site, which details the latest agenda. Note that times and dates for agenda items may change, so journalists should regularly consult the Journal, and contact WHO media staff for updates. A full list of staff contacts and other information about the Assembly can be found in the World Health Assembly media advisory.

Monday, 17 May

PM: Plenary Speakers: Dr LEE Jong-wook, WHO Director-General
Dr Kim Dae-jung, former President, Republic of Korea

Tuesday, 18 May

AM: 9:30: HIV/AIDS Roundtable discussions

PM: Committee A: HIV, Buruli Ulcer
13:00: Technical briefing - Health Action in Crises

Wednesday, 19 May

AM: Plenary Speaker: Mr Jimmy Carter, former President of the United Sates of America
Committee A: Control of African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness); Smallpox eradication; Polio eradication

PM: Committee A: Global strategy on diet, physical activity and health; road safety and health
13:00: Technical Briefing: Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Thursday, 20 May

AM: Committee A:Health promotion and healthy lifestyle, family and reproductive health

PM: Committee A: Health systems, including primary health care; quality and safety of medicines regulatory systems
13:00: Technical Briefing: Patient Safety and the establishment of an international alliance
17:00: Plenary: Awards

Friday, 21 May

AM: Committee A: Genomics and world health; human organ and tissue transplantation; Progress on previous WHA resolutions: measles, SARS, integrated prevention of noncommunicable diseases; quality of care/patient safety; infant and young child nutrition; WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
Committee B: Health conditions of, and assistance to, the Arab population in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine

PM: Continuation of Committee A

Saturday 22 May

AM: Committee A: Finalisation of resolutions and reports

PM: Reports of the committees, and closure

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For more information contact:

Ms Christine McNab
Telephone: +41 22 791 4688
Mobile phone: +41 79 254 6815

Mr Iain Simpson
Telephone: +41 22 791 3215
Mobile phone: +41 79 475 5534

Fadéla Chaib
Telephone: +41 22 791 3228
Fax: +41 22 791 4181