The Director-General, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, says the agency will use every tool at its disposal to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ghebreyesus said this at the closing of two-day virtual World Health Assembly in Geneva.
In his speech posted on WHO website, Ghebreyesus said some of the recommendations from the assembly would be shared and be implemented.
“WHO’s focus now is fighting the pandemic with every tool at its disposal.
“Our focus is on saving lives. At the end of the day, what matters is life. That should be at the centre of everything we do and everything we say.
“I’ve been heartened by the way countries have shared experiences, best practices through our regular Member State briefings and at this Assembly,’’ he said.
The director general said the agency would continue to provide strategic leadership to coordinate the global response and support efforts by countries.
“We will continue providing the world with epidemiological information and analysis.
“We will continue to keep the world informed and give people and communities the information they need to keep themselves and each other safe.
“We will continue shipping diagnostics, personal protective equipment and other medical supplies all over the world.
“We will continue bringing together leading experts from around the world to develop technical advice, based on the best science.
“We will continue driving research and development to develop evidence about vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics,’’ he said.
Ghebreyesus, also said the agency would continue to work with countries and all relevant partners to ensure equitable access to the tools to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19.
“We will continue supporting countries to prepare and respond. We will continue working with countries to sustain essential health services.
“We will continue to work day and night to support the most vulnerable countries and populations.
“We will continue supporting countries to achieve the “triple billion” targets and the Sustainable Development Goals.
“And we will continue supporting countries to build resilient health systems, based on primary health care, to progress towards our shared goal of universal health coverage,” he said.
Ghebreyesus said that in spite different cultures and traditions, everyone share the same planet.
“We may speak different languages, but we share the same DNA, we may adhere to different faiths, but we share the same aspirations for a peaceful and harmonious world.
“From east to west, north to south, everybody wants peace, development and health, nothing else, that’s what human beings want, that’s what humanity wants,” he said.
According to him, for everything COVID-19 has taken from us, it has also given us something, a reminder of what really matters and the opportunity to forge a common future.
He said that dark and difficult days might lie ahead, but guided by science, together we would overcome, adding that we should let hope be the antidote to fear.
The director- general said also that we should let solidarity be the antidote to division and our shared humanity be the antidote to our shared threat.
The World Health Assembly is the forum through which the WHO is governed by its 194 member states.
It is the world’s highest health policy setting body and is composed of health ministers from member states.
By Cecilia Ologunagba