Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus delivered his message through the opening of the annual World Well being Meeting – the decision-making physique of WHO comprised of representatives of 194 nations.
Noting that it was the primary time since 2019 that the Meeting might happen in-person, he requested ministers the place the world stood, two years into probably the most extreme well being disaster in a century.
“So, is it COVID-19 over? No, it’s most actually not over. I do know that’s not the message you need to hear, and it’s undoubtedly not the message I need to ship”, he highlighted.
He added that though in lots of nations all restrictions have been lifted and life seems to be very like it did earlier than the pandemic, reported instances are rising in nearly 70 nations in all areas.
“And this in a world by which testing charges have plummeted”, he added.
Tedros warned that reported deaths are additionally rising in Africa, the continent with the bottom vaccination protection.
“This virus has stunned us at each flip – a storm that has torn by means of communities repeatedly, and we nonetheless can’t predict its path, or its depth”, he emphasised.
International gaps in COVID-19 response
Whereas agreeing that progress has been made, with 60% of the world’s inhabitants already vaccinated, Tedros reminded that just about one billion individuals in lower-income nations stay unvaccinated.
“It’s not over wherever till it’s over in all places…Solely 57 nations have vaccinated 70% of their inhabitants – nearly all of them high-income nations”, he famous.
The WHO chief additionally warned that rising transmission means extra deaths and extra danger of a brand new variant rising, and the present decline of testing and sequencing means “we’re blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus”.
He identified as properly that in some nations there may be nonetheless inadequate political dedication to roll out vaccines, and there are nonetheless gaps in operational and monetary capability.
“And in all, we see vaccine hesitancy pushed by misinformation and disinformation”, he added.
It’s doable to finish the pandemic
Tedros stated that WHO’s major focus now’s to assist nations to show vaccines into vaccinations as quick as doable, however they’re nonetheless seeing supply-side issues for exams and therapeutics with inadequate funds and entry.
“The pandemic won’t magically disappear. However we will finish it. We have now the information. We have now the instruments. Science has given us the higher hand”, he stated, calling on nations to work collectively to achieve 70% of vaccination protection.
© UNICEF/Frank Dejongh
The Seventy-fifth World Well being Meeting is being held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 22-28 Could 2022. It’s the first in-person Well being Meeting because the begin of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the assembly, nation delegates make choices on well being objectives and methods that can information public well being work and the work of the WHO Secretariat to maneuver the world in the direction of higher well being and well-being for all.
The theme of this 12 months’s Meeting is Well being for peace, peace for well being.
“As we converse, our colleagues world wide are responding to outbreaks of Ebola in DRC, monkeypox and hepatitis of unknown trigger, and complicated humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine and Yemen.
We face a formidable convergence of illness, drought, famine and battle, fuelled by local weather change, inequity and geopolitical rivalry”, Tedros informed Ministers.
International Well being Leaders Awards
The WHO Director-Normal additionally introduced on Sunday six awards to acknowledge excellent contribution to advancing international well being, demonstrated management and dedication to regional well being points.
The winners embody British-Lebanese psychiatrist Dr Ahmed Hankir, youth sports activities advocate Ms Ludmila Sofia Oliveira Varela, and polio employees in Afghanistan.
You’ll find extra details about this 12 months’s winners right here