LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As the 73rd World Health Assembly is set to convene this week in a virtual meeting, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is launching its #LivesBeforePolitics social media advocacy campaign to coincide with the annual event.
The virtual rally will urge ministers of health from around the world to prioritize transparency and accountability in all aspects of global public health by encouraging countries to set politics aside and focus on saving as many lives as possible – during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), is comprised of health ministers and delegates from 194 member states who will meet on May 18 to determine the WHO’s way forward for the upcoming year.
The WHA also has the power to set the agenda for public health overall, and during the critical time of COVID-19 it has the opportunity to strengthen accountability and transparency within global health mechanisms and institutions—a necessity if we’re to have a healthier and more equitable world.
“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, a worrisome lack of transparency and accountability has been an unfortunate part of the entire outbreak response and should be an emergency wake-up call to global health leaders,” said Terri Ford, AHF Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy. “But even with all the mistakes that have been made over the past six months, the World Health Assembly has the power to right the ship for the world’s public health capabilities by throwing politics aside and prioritizing people first.”
Mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak, which began in December of last year (or earlier, according to some reports), has resulted in serious questions as to whether governing health bodies like the WHO have the capacity to effectively manage and lead outbreak response efforts.
“As bad as it’s been, we have hope – hope that the health leaders of the world will do the right thing and put lives before politics,” said Dr. Adele Schwartz Benzaken, Senior Medical Director for AHF Global Programs. “As events of the past few months have unfolded, there should be no doubt that without transparency in managing worldwide health crises, humanity – and particularly those in the developing world – will continue to bear the brunt of deadly infectious diseases.”
In addition to COVID-19, outbreaks of SARS, MERS, H1N1 and Ebola experienced serious challenges due to the political limitations inherent in WHO’s leadership and governance structures, resulting in many preventable deaths. The WHA must do all it can this week to unite the world on health and enforce a minimum set of evidence-based principles of public health promotion, sanitary measures, disease prevention and pandemic preparedness.
For more information, please contact Ged Kenslea at firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 791-5526.
About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.4 million people in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.