Peoples Health Movement every year organizes the WHO watch, a project with the aim to technically follow the political global health discussion. At PHM, we believe that the World Health Organisation (WHO) is the legitimate space for global health policymaking. Through the WHO Watch initiative, PHM intervenes in the discussion of WHO’s key decisions making bodies and brings the voice of the movements struggling for Health for All to the forefront. In addition, we use this opportunity to organize a capacity building workshop for activists interested in the politics of global health governance.
Eight international participants are also known as the ‘Watchers’ go to Geneva to attend the Executive Board Meeting in January and the World Health Assembly in May. This year watchers from the UK, Ethiopia, India, Croatia, Italy, and the Netherlands joined the EB144 from the 23rd January until 1st February.
In preparation for the EB meeting, watchers participated in an extensive workshop, conducting an in-depth analysis of all the EB agenda items. Resource persons from organizations such as Medicus Mundi International, Third World Network, Knowledge Ecology International, Public Services International, The South Centre, and MSF Access Campaign joined the group in solidarity to guide the watchers to critically analyze the political nature of key global health issues.
The watchers also participated in the civil society meeting organized by Geneva Global Health Hub on 23rd January 2019. The meeting was an opportunity for the voices of Civil Societies Organisations (CSOs) to discuss the global health policy agenda ahead of the EB144 and emerge as a collective voice.
One of the matters that captured particular attention was the shrinking space for Civil Society Engagement with the World Health Organisation. (Read more here: Civil society engagement with the World Health Organisation: Towards a new era of partnership or defending a shrinking space? http://g2h2.org/posts/shrinking-space/).
During the EB Watch, PHM prepared commentaries on agenda items at WHO governing body meetings, including brief background and critical commentary. In association with Medicus Mundi International, PHM members also read statements to governing body meetings.
Primary Health Care (PHC), the health of migrants and refugees, climate change, access to medicine, patient safety, antimicrobic resistance, tuberculosis, noncommunicable diseases, polio eradication, and transition, were among the topics discussed during the meeting.
PHM stressed the importance of building publicly funded health care system, the need for urgency of action to face climate change, the importance of maintaining a human-rights based approach while facing migration and ensuring equitable access to healthcare. Also, PHM reinforced the importance of having government-owned pharmaceutical manufacturers to guarantee universal access to medicines. For more information, please see the complete agenda, the commentaries to agenda items, the floor statements read by the watchers, and the WHO track.