“The 73rd World Health Assembly is an unusual one because it is the first time for the meeting to hold virtually. It is also extremely important because it deals with a massive global health crisis.” Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy of WHO Director-General on COVID-19, told People’s Daily.
Dr. Nabarro praised China’s contribution to WHO and its effort to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic, “Indeed I was very impressed. The President of the People’s Republic of China chose to address the World Health Assembly. It was great to see his support for the World Health Organization.”
President Xi Jinping made 6 proposals to fight against COVID-19, including to provide US$2 billion over two years, set up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China, make COVID-19 vaccine as a global public good when available, etc. Dr. Nabarro believed it is a “very generous financial contribution, particularly focusing on the needs of developing countries.”
The COVID-19 pandemic not only presents a public health threat to almost all countries, but also has dramatic social and economic implications. Dr. Nabarro called for all countries to support for global actions, especially the work of WHO. He said, “All members of the World Health Assembly own WHO together. What’s really necessary now is that each country to support WHO in a cooperative and collaborative manner to enable WHO to be the strong agency it needs to be.”
Dr. Nabarro stressed that although countries in the World Health Assembly, the governing body of WHO, had different opinions, WHO served the world without any bias. Dr. Nabarro contended that a huge amount of work needed to be done. The quick and unanimous approval of a resolution on COVID-19 was a very positive sign to empower WHO to look after people’s health around the world.
The resolution on COVID-19 also mentioned to make “extensive immunization against COVID-19 as a global public good”. Dr. Nabarro said, “It’ll be great if there is a vaccine developed. It will be even greater if the vaccine provided, it should be safe and effective for all people and available to the developing countries.”
Dr. Nabarro stressed that COVID-19 showed the importance of having well-functioning community level public health services that can protect people from disease and keep societies healthy. He called for health issues to be given priority and public health must be strengthened to enable good defenses against the virus as well as other possible health challenges in the future.