Antigua To Unite at World Health Assembly to Tackle Pandemic Readiness and Health Inequities

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room
Sir Molwtn Joseph

Health ministers and top health officials from the Americas and the Caribbean gathered this week for the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. They aim to address critical health concerns, including the COVID-19 pandemic’s significant impact on small islands like Antigua and Barbuda.

Member countries expressed a collective determination to enhance global readiness for deadly outbreaks. This resolve follows the setback of a proposed “pandemic treaty,” which faced obstacles regarding the sharing of disease-causing pathogen information and combatting technology.

Attention has shifted to proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) and establishing a global mechanism for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. Experts suggest that these amendments, encouraging early alert, detection, containment, and international cooperation, offer the best chance to address pandemics effectively.

However, significant challenges remain, such as sharing information on emerging pathogens and equitable distribution of vital resources like vaccines.

Haiti’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Justin Viard, highlighted the importance of international collaboration in negotiating the first-ever global agreement to safeguard against pandemic threats. He stressed the need for resilient healthcare systems, equitable access to innovation and care, and the elimination of barriers like inequality and armed conflict to ensure a livable planet for future generations.

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