WHA72 – Geneva, 20 – 28 May 2019

WHA72 – Geneva, 20 – 28 May 2019

WHA72 this year was a busy week with a number of interesting meetings, side events and networking with particular highlights as follows.

The G4 Alliance Permanent Council meeting convened on 18th & 19th May. I was pleased to moderate a session on the Saturday regarding progress on Resolution WHA68.15 and to provide an Advocacy update for the UK on Sunday.

As IFSC is in Special Relations with the WHO we were delighted to facilitate badges for our delegation of 34 in order for them to attend the World Health Assembly.

On Saturday 25 May, IFSC submitted a Statement supported by the Global Alliance for Surgery, Anaesthesia, Obstetrics and Trauma Care (The G4 Alliance), re 72nd WHA agenda item 12.9: “Emergency care systems for universal health coverage: ensuring timely care for the acutely ill and injured” which was read by Lismore Nebeker, Director of Research, Mobile Surgery International. If you would like to see a copy please email us at info@theifsc.org.

On Monday 20th May 2019 from 5 pm to 7.30 pm I attended a side event organised by the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Lifebox, the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition and the G4 Alliance, entitled ‘Surgery and Anaesthesia: conflict, poverty and development‘ held at the ICRC’s Humanitarium.

Featured eminent speakers included the ICRC’s Head of Health Dr Esperanza Martinez and WFSA President Dr Jannicke Mellin-Olsen who discussed their experiences of providing safe surgery and anaesthesia in conflict, disaster and resource challenged situations. Ministries of Health and the World Health Organisation also provided invaluable insight into their work.

This was an important meeting because 2019 is a reporting year on WHA Resolution 68.15Strengthening emergency and essential surgical care and anaesthesia as a component of universal health coverage” and it is as vital as ever to highlight this often neglected area of health care, especially in contexts where health systems are fragile.

In summary, this was an extremely useful meeting providing discussion on how governments, NGOs and other stakeholders can work together to improve the safety of and access to surgical, obstetric, trauma and anaesthesia care for the world’s most vulnerable people.

On Thursday 23 May I attended an all-day Technical Meeting hosted by the WHO Emergency and Essential Surgical Care Programme, convened at the World Council of Churches in Geneva in conjunction with the 72nd World Health Assembly.

This meeting highlighted the collaborations both within WHO and with key external partners that assist in surgical capacity building worldwide. There were speakers from 25 different countries or professional societies who discussed the recent advancements in global surgical, obstetric and anaesthesia care. As such I presented an update on the activities of IFSC over the past year.

In the evening I attended an excellent side event which the Ministry of Health Kenya hosted in partnership with Smile Train, KidsOR, The Henry Family Advised Fund, COSECSA, G4 Alliance, and West African College of Surgeons (WACS). “Accelerating Progress Towards Surgical Equity in UHC” aimed to galvanize country commitments towards surgical equity in Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Bob Lane
6th June 2019