In his first address as President of the 76th edition of the World Health Assembly, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne called on health leaders to come together and make the necessary changes so that all peoples have the same access to developments in the field of health and in the field of pharmaceuticals, regardless of the country or continent in which they live.

“A major reason for the imbalance in the level of healthcare offered across regions of the world is unequal access to good quality and innovative medicines.

“The current system of distribution of medicines is failing millions of citizens and should therefore be of interest to all leaders to find a solution,” said Minister for Health Fearne.

He recalled that the principle of universal healthcare for all is one of the cornerstones of the work of the World Health Organization and therefore, although health policy is normally a national competence, it is the duty of every leader to ensure that no one is left behind.

The Deputy Prime Minister illustrated his point through the COVID-19 experience, which, he said, showed the world that disease does not confine itself to geographical boundaries and that it is when the world comes together and pulls together that medical challenges are overcome. He therefore called for other health challenges to be addressed in the same unified way, such as antimicrobial resistance.

Minister Fearne ended his first address as President of the Assembly on a positive note, reminding the 194 current leaders that as active members of the WHO, there is much to learn from another, both from similarities but much more than differences, and therefore claimed that he is confident that the future of the organisation and its citizens is a prosperous one.

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