The World Health Organization (WHO) Board meeting is held in January when the members agree upon the agenda for the World Health Assembly and the resolutions to be considered by the Health Assembly. The 152nd session of the executive was held in Geneva from 30 January – 7 February 2023.
The Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA) participated in interventions during the meeting. WHPCA Executive Director Dr. Stephen Connor was at the meeting where discussions about health emergencies were held. The World Medical Association gave a constituency statement on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) at the meeting which included palliative care thanks to the International Association of Palliative Care (IAHPC)
HelpAge International also gave a constituency statement on UHC thanks to the combined effort of WHPCA and IAHPC that included palliative care. Dr. Connor made an intervention about strengthening rehabilitation in health systems where he said, “Globally in 2019 there were about 2 billion people who could have benefited from rehabilitation. About 50% of those who need rehabilitation do not receive the care they need. In practice, rehabilitation is an important component of palliative care and a service delivery model which combined palliative care and rehabilitation would potentially have a significant workforce and cost efficiencies thus optimising cost effective patient care for individuals with both NCDs and disability.”
He did an intervention about the prevention and control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) “41 million people die of NCDs annually. Control of NCDs depends on quality health systems. Palliative care is a cost-effective intervention for improving the functions of patients and their carers.” Also an intervention on persons with disabilities calling on “member states to guarantee that palliative care is part of the spectrum of health services provided for individuals with disability.” Dr. Connor.
The Executive Board is composed of 34 technically qualified members elected for three-year terms. The main functions of the Board are to implement the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly, and to advise and generally facilitate its work. We remain optimistic that palliative care will be fully integrated into healthcare systems across the globe.
Dr. Kusum K Rohilla
Excellent initiative by WHO.