Dear Colleague,

The 76th World Health Assembly is currently in session, running from 21 to 30 May. As disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years come to an end, we are delighted to be able to bring some of our members to the assembly once more as part of the FIP delegation. In to members of the FIP Bureau and Early Career Pharmaceutical Group, we are proud to count colleagues from China Taiwan, Egypt, Lebanon, Montenegro, Portugal, South Africa, and the UK among this group and I thank them all for their participation and representation of FIP and our profession.

During the assembly, we made statements to ministers on a number of topics, as FIP and as part of constituencies (including with the Global Self-Care Federation, NCD Alliance, the World Federation of Family Doctors, the World Health Professions Alliance, and the World Heart Federation), as follow:

  • Universal health coverage (constituency statement with focus on non-communicable diseases and constituency statement with focus on self-care and primary health care)
  • Substandard and falsified medical products and infection prevention and control (FIP statement)
  • Public health emergency preparedness and response (FIP statement delivered by Mark Koziol of the Pharmacists Defence Association, UK)
  • Strengthening WHO preparedness for and response to health emergencies (constituency statement)
  • Well-being and health promotion and social determinants of health (FIP statement)
  • Global action on patient safety will be (FIP statement delivered by Safiye Çağansel, ECGP President)
  • Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (FIP statement delivered by Mariet Eksteen of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa)

Alliances and speaking engagements
FIP is also pleased to be part of a new alliance — the Healthy Ageing and Prevention Coalition — launched during the assembly, ensuring that our profession is represented in joint work in this area. The coalition was launched at a side event to the assembly, held by the International Longevity Centre UK, at which FIP professional secretary Luís Lourenço presented the huge contribution that pharmacists are making in life-course vaccination. Our officers and representatives were prominent as speakers at several other events:

  • FIP CEO Catherine Duggan at “Developing robust and resilient patient partnerships with health professionals to promote patient-centred, compassionate and humanised healthcare”, held by the International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations.
  • Mariet Eksteen of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa at the Self-Care Resolution Coalition side event, organised by the Global Self-Care Federation.
  • Our vice-presidents Prosper Hiag and Lars-Åke Söderlund and FIP CEO Catherine Duggan at “Leveraging the expanded role of pharmacists for resilient health systems: Contributions to pandemic response and medicine shortages”, a forum held by the Pharmaceutical Society of Taiwan and supported by FIP.

Our key message
In his welcome address to the assembly, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlighted a number of milestone achievements since the World Health Organization was established 75 years ago. These include the holistic approach — now known as primary health care — that has delivered health services people need, where and when they need them, but that has also improved health literacy, nutrition and other drivers of disease. He spoke of progress in immunisation coverage, treatment of HIV, and tobacco cessation. These are all areas that our profession is proud to contribute to and all our speaking engagements, statements, meetings and networking at the assembly carried the same main message: leverage pharmacists’ expertise and accessibility for the benefit of such goals. Other key areas for FIP work for the months and years ahead involve skill mix, the role of labour relations in the sustainable development of pharmacy practice, and the key markers that keep pharmacists and their teams recruited and retrained, which will be addressed through the workforce symposium at our congress in Brisbane and beyond.

Business meetings and global goals
Dr Tedros referred to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as “living proof of the power of global agreements to drive a paradigm shift in global health”. During each World Health Assembly, FIP also organises business meetings with WHO colleagues and health ministers. At a meeting wtih the WHO Tobacco Cessation Unit, key topics discussed included FIP’s work on tobacco cessation, including the development of resources, webinars, and a joint declaration with the WHO, as well as plans to support the implementation of tobacco cessation services in India and Jordan through collaboration with local organisations and the WHO. FIP also met with Luther Gwaza, WHO’s designated technical officer for FIP, and Rogério Gaspar, director of the WHO Regulation and Prequalification Department and Access to Medicines and Health Products Division to discuss other collaborations.

Like the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the pandemic accord that UN Member States are now negotiating must be a historic agreement to make a paradigm shift in global health security, Dr Tedros said. He made clear that the threat of another COVID variant emerging that causes new surges of disease and death as well as of another even deadlier pathogen emerging remains. “In a world of overlapping and converging crises, an effective architecture for health emergency preparedness and response must address emergencies of all kinds,” he said. Dr Tedros also reiterated the significant impact the COVID pandemic has had on the health-related targets in the Sustainable Development Goals. “The pandemic has blown us off course, but it has shown us why the SDGs must remain our north star, and why we must pursue them with the same urgency and determination with which we countered the pandemic,” he said. Through its work, FIP is committed to ensuring that our profession supports the achievement of these targets. We also need to ensure that our profession and other healthcare professions are supported in order to achieve these targets. Our constituency statement as part of the World Health Professions Alliance emphasised the urgent need to protect and safeguard health professionals and thus to improve the resilience of health systems. We told member states that the health workforce is the fundamental resource that bridges health systems from response to recovery to delivery of essential health services and public health functions in the pursuit of UHC, global health security, and WHO cancer initiatives.

Through our presence at the World Health Assembly, we make clear to ministers and other stakeholders that pharmacists are essential partners in health care. We will continue to advocate for pharmacists’, pharmaceutical scientists’ and pharmacy educators’ roles in the global health agenda.

Best wishes,

Dominique Jordan
International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)



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