World Health Organization Global virtual meeting

Not business as usual – not even for the WHO

 The World Health Organisation holds it 73rd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday (18 May 2020). The main focus of this year’s Assembly will focus on the Covid-19 pandemic which affected in excess of 4, 3 million people globally and killed almost 300 000. Different from all the other annual Assemblies, this year the proceedings will take place virtually.

Covid-19 is highly infectious and can show a high reproductive ratio. In Ghana one individual affected gave rise to a chain infection involving another 530 other persons [Namibia Ministry of Health and Social Services daily brief 14 May 2020].

Since the novel Coronavirus [Covid-19] was first detected in China in the first half of December 2019, it rapidly spread to virtually every country globally. It brought unprecedented consequences to countries which include the highest death rates per country seen since the Second World War and later conflicts like the Vietnam War.

“It is not business as usual”, world leaders have said at various occasions. The global population experiences this harsh reality daily in the form of lockdowns, social distancing and work and in public, unemployment and incomes slashed as economies falter.

For the World Health Organisation it is also unprecedented in many ways and certainly not business as usual. The World Health Assembly this year will be attended by delegates from across the globe in the form of a string of virtual meetings and delegates logging in from the confines of their offices or from home. The World Wide Web (the Internet) and each country’s telecommunication systems have become the primary information link between humans and between countries.

In a statement on Thursday [14 May 2020] Namibia’s health minister Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, explained the WHO is a specialised agency of the United Nations tasked to direct international health. The WHO plays a pivotal role in the fight against the Coronavirus [Covid-19] globally.

Namibia is no exception and the WHO plays a key role in providing data and provide guidelines as to how the country should curbs the spread of the novel Coronavirus. The WHO has been established in 1948 and held its first Assembly in 1948, three years after the formation of the United Nations Organisation in 1945 (at the end of the Second World War). The World Health Organisation is but one of many agencies formed under the auspices of the United Organisation since 1945, committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.

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