July, 2024
July 2024
Brian Li Han Wong: WHA week was an incredibly productive one
Jun 6, 2024, 11:04

Brian Li Han Wong: WHA week was an incredibly productive one

“Back in London after yet another whirlwind week in Geneva, where I attended the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA77), 2024 AI for Good Summit and World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+20) Forum High-Level Event!

While it was a jam-packed week running all around Geneva and wearing numerous hats, WHA week was an incredibly productive one, both personally and for the global health community!

Some of my personal highlights from what I followed include:

  • The launch of the World Health Organization’s investment case ‘All for Health‘ in support of WHO’s 14th General Program of Work (GPW14), which was adopted by the Assembly.
  • Afternoon tea with British Ambassador Aidan Liddle, organised by the Oxford and Cambridge Club of Geneva.
  • Launch of the Primary Health Care primer, which I had the pleasure of co-authoring.
  • The annual Canadian youth consultation with Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Ambassador Leslie E. Norton, organised by this year’s Canadian youth delegate Aisha Barkhad, during which we discussed the intersectionality of Climate Change and Health.
  • Various Mental Health events, including those organised by Economist Impact, International Longevity Centre – UK, Ukraine and the Netherlands.
  • Digital Health and Digital Transformation were high on the agenda in various fora. The Permanent Mission of India hosted a side event on ‘Leveraging Digital Public Infrastructure for addressing Social Determinants of Health‘ and there was even a Strategic Roundtable opportunities, risks, and governance considerations for AI for Health. Outside the Palais, International Telecommunication Union hosted its annual AI for Good Summit, WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event (during which the Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) and partners held a Multistakeholder Dialogue on National Digital Health Transformation), and Geneva Digital Health Day.
  • This year’s WHA was particularly momentous. Among other key events, WHO Member States adopted landmark resolutions on Social Participation for PHC, the economics of Health For All, climate change and health. Moreover, Palestine was recognized as an observer state for the first time, and the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) amendments were passed/adopted by Member States, who made concrete commitments to completing negotiations on a global Pandemic Agreement within a year.

As always, it was a pleasure to reconnect with friends and colleagues from around the world and to make new connections.

Next stop: Porto for The Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region – ASPHER’s annual Deans and Directors Retreat!”