President Uhuru Kenyatta arrives in Geneva for Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta arrives at the World Health Complex in Geneva, Switzerland for the Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly on May 22, 2022

Photo credit: Pool

President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived at the World Health Complex in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sunday for the Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly (#WHA75) hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) according to State House.

This comes after the global health regulator last week announced that the theme of this year’s Health Assembly is: Health for peace, peace for health.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and other health emergencies with international reach have highlighted the leadership and coordinating role of WHO in responding to such events. Strengthening preparedness for and response to health emergencies are a key theme of the Health Assembly.

Events will begin with a high-level segment on 22 May with speeches from the elected Health Assembly President, Heads of State, special guests, an address by the WHO Director-General and the presentation of the Director-General’s Health Awards,” WHO said.

"This year's session is the first in-person Health Assembly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and is being held under the theme of: Health for peace, peace for health," State House confirmed President Kenyatta’s attendance.

Mr Kenyatta believes the world can work together to help improve its health systems.

"Covid-19 is the biggest moral failure in our lifetime. 1.8 billion in low and middle income countries (LMICs) are yet to receive their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine", President Kenyatta said.

He welcomed the establishment of the WHO Academy. The state of the art training institution will deliver advanced digital and classroom training to health workers and others around the world.

The academy, which aims to reach 10 million learners by 2023, has the Covid-19 technology access pool (C-TAP ) which provides a global one stop shop for developers of  Covid-19 therapeutics, diagnostics,  vaccines and other health products.

It will enable researchers to voluntarily share their intellectual property, data  & knowledge with multiple quality assured manufacturers and the WHO  mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub which was designed to build capacity to enable low and middle income countries to produce vaccines through a centre of excellence and training.

Apart from calling on major global buyers of vaccines and essential medicines to prioritise procurement of locally manufactured health products from developing countries the Kenyan President reiterated the country’s support for a WHO Pandemic Treaty.

This comes after in March 2021, a group of 25 world leaders, including President Uhuru Kenyatta and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a joint statement, announced an initiative for a new treaty on pandemic preparedness and response.

“There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone. The question is not if, but when. Together, we must be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and effectively respond to pandemics in a highly coordinated fashion. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe. We are, therefore, committed to ensuring universal and equitable access to safe, efficacious and affordable vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for this and future pandemics,” the official document said.

The initiative was adopted by WHO and will be negotiated, drafted and debated by a newly established intergovernmental negotiation body.

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