68th World Health Assembly (18-26 May 2015, Geneva)

68th Session of World Health Assembly held in every May within the participation of Ministers of Health, representatives of non-state actors, and representatives from organizations, notably World Health Organization, of United Nations was opened on 18 May 2015 in Geneva. 

In her speech, Germany’s Prime Minister Merkel, making opening speech, emphasized the supports provided for treatment of unheeded tropical diseases and steps needed to be taken for fighting against antimicrobial resistance.  Merkel, stating that weakness of a country’s health system may cause global disasters just as Ebola epidemic has shown, call for the countries and WHO to take necessary precautions.  Merkel, touching persistently on WHO reform, remarked that the Organization, having 150 country offices and 6 regional offices, should take a step for accountability, consistency, and efficiency and emphasized the contingency fund proposed to be created and necessity of emergency response teams.   

Dr. Chan, Director General of WHO, started her speech by giving examples of operations that WHO made in Nepal as a part of response to emergency and in West Africa as a part of response to Ebola. Dr. Chan, stating that the Organization should intensify its operations in this field as Ebola crisis has shown, told that the Organization had speed up its practices about recruitment of human resources and supplies, necessary for emergency response, and stated that Member Countries support the contingency fund of 100 million $ proposed to be created.  Dr. Chan, remarking that term of  “mega disaster” has taken its places in dictionaries as result of big disasters, stressed that food security problems has spread out and for the first time in the history, rise in economic welfare has complicated threats to health instead of overcoming them.  Director General, summarizing global health problems and emphasizing inequalities, finished her speech by remarking that she will do any thing she can to overcome these threats and she has restructured herself to meet the rising expectations.   

On the first day of the Assembly, Undersecretary Prof. Dr. Eyüp Gümüş had bilateral discussions with Ministers of Health of Turkmenistan, Malaysia, and Sudan, United Kingdom Committee of Health Commission and Deputy Minister of Health of Bulgaria.   Global health problems, health reforms in our country, and cooperation in health were discussed at the meetings.

In his speech at General Assembly on the second day of the Assembly, Mr. Undersecretary firstly conveyed his get well soon wishes to Nepal for the earthquake they lived in the past few days. Emphasizing that Turkey was the among the first countries to send aid to Nepal on the first days of the earthquake, Mr. Undersecretary stated that Turkey, as a vision, will go on  providing any aid and support any country need.   

In his speech, he mentioned about disasters’ and emergencies’ place in global health agenda and stressed international cooperation and coordination in such unexpected situations. He remarked that the health services provided to Syrian quests shows the gains of Health Transformation Program that has been applied since 2003 and based upon fairness, strong political leadership, quality human resources for health, sustainability, and good management. He also expressed that our country’s being not supported at her efforts in this field doesn’t accord with international cooperation spirit. 

Mentioning that successes gained within Millennium Development Goals should be transferred to post 2015, Eyüp Gümüş completed his speech by indicating that everyone, notably the ones living in occupied territories of Palestine, could reach health services.