Vice President General (Retired) Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, is in Geneva, Switzerland, ahead of the 76th Session of the World Health Assembly which kicks off on Sunday.
Vice President Chiwenga, who arrived in Geneva this Thursday evening, will join fellow global health leaders for the assembly which will see leaders share notes and assess the global health terrain as well as find solutions to health-related challenges being faced the world over.
Speaking soon after arrival, the Vice President, who is leading a team of experts from the Ministry of Health and other government departments, said he will hold several meetings with key stakeholders in the global health sector.
“We are here for the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organisation and also to attend the World Health Assembly of Ministers of Health and we will be meeting different groups from the Global Fund, from the UNAIDS, all the groups to do with medical issues,” he said.
With the Covid-19 pandemic no longer a health emergency, the 76th World Health Assembly will provide a platform for health ministers and experts to share notes on how to navigate future health emergencies.
“Whilst the World Health Organisation Director-General said Covid-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern, he didn’t say the pandemic is over. It means it can now be treated just like any other disease and he also gave a warning that we still have to be on the lookout in case there will be a resurgence.
“We are also going to be exchanging notes with others to see how best, if anything of this nature does arise again, how we can deal with it before it devastates our people,” Vice President Chiwenga said.
Zimbabwe’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Stuart Comberbach weighed in, “The focus of this assembly is to look forward to how the international global health community can come together as one and mobilise and coordinate so that the world is better prepared to handle this health emergency should it arise again in the future.
“So, this meeting will give all 194 member states a chance to look back and learn the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and then plan for the future to make sure that even when such another emergency arises, the world is better prepared and from an African perspective. There has been a lot of work done by the African Union Commission and the African Centre for Disease Control have been working very hard with the World Health Organisation to try and put mechanisms and to raise funds and resources to strengthen healthcare systems across the world and we are very much part of that.”
The 76th session of the world health assembly, which is also coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organisation, comes at a time Zimbabwe has managed to reconfigure its health strategy in line with international standards backed by the country’s National Health Strategy.
The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of the World Health Organisation which brings together WHO member states and focuses on current and future priorities for public health issues of global importance.