The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Mr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called on all countries to make a radical reorientation of health systems towards primary health care, with a focus on promoting health and preventing disease.
Mr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made this call in his opening remarks at the opening ceremony of the IX Baku Forum on the 16th of June 2022.
According to him, countries across the world face a formidable convergence of disease, drought, famine and war, fuelled by climate change, inequity and geopolitical rivalry. To address these challenges, WHO is focusing on three main actions.
Read the full statement below >>>
Your Excellency President Aliyev,
Secretary-General Rovshan Muradov,
Excellencies, honourable NGIC members, dear colleagues and friends,
Good morning, it’s an honour to be here.
I thank Your Excellency for the invitation, and my thanks also to the Nizami Ganjavi International Center for your support WHO and our mission.
I still regret that I was not able to be here in person last year to receive the 2021 Nizami Ganjavi International Award, but I was no less humbled and honoured to receive it virtually.
And I am delighted to be with you in person this year.
The fact that we are able to meet face-to-face is testament that after two long years, we have turned the tide against the COVID-19.
I’m very pleased to see that reported cases and deaths here in Azerbaijan are at their lowest levels since the beginning of the pandemic.
Globally, the number of reported COVID-19 cases and deaths continues to decline.
On average, about three-quarters of health workers and people aged over 60 globally have been vaccinated.
But it is far too soon to declare victory.
Increasing transmission, coupled with lower rates of testing and sequencing, is fertile ground for a new and more virulent variant to emerge that evades our vaccines.
And 1 billion people remain unvaccinated, mostly in low-income countries in Africa and elsewhere.
Of course, the pandemic is not the only crisis in our world. We face a formidable convergence of disease, drought, famine and war, fuelled by climate change, inequity and geopolitical rivalry.
To address these challenges, WHO is focusing on three main actions:
First, we must end the pandemic.
We call on all countries to remain vigilant.
We call on all countries to maintain testing and sequencing.
And we call on all countries to continue vaccinating, with a focus on health workers, older people and other at-risk groups.
Second, all countries must invest in resilient health systems.
The pandemic has demonstrated that health is not simply an outcome of development, it is the means.
In particular, WHO calls on all countries to make a radical reorientation of health systems towards primary health care, with a focus on promoting health and preventing disease.
Third, we must learn the lessons the pandemic is teaching us, by building a stronger global architecture for health emergency preparedness and response that is equitable, inclusive and coherent.
WHO has developed a proposal with 10 key recommendations for stronger governance, stronger systems and tools, stronger financing, and a stronger WHO at the centre of the global health architecture.
Overarching these recommendations is the need for a new international accord on pandemic preparedness and response, which countries are now negotiating.
I look forward to presenting our proposal in more detail at tomorrow’s session on global health governance.
Last century, the horrors of two world wars gave birth to the realization that the only answer to global conflict is global cooperation.
The COVID-19 pandemic, more than any crisis since the Second World War, has shown why that remains the case.
In our increasingly polarised world, we must all work to find ways to build bridges, not fences, and to learn the painful lessons the pandemic has taught us, for a healthier, safer and fairer future.
In the words of Nizami Ganjavi, “In the hour of adversity be not without hope, for crystal rain falls from black clouds.”
I thank you.
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