Highlights of the 52nd World Health Assembly

Bulletin of the World Health Organization, July 1999 | Go to article overview

Highlights of the 52nd World Health Assembly


The 52nd World Health Assembly took place in Geneva from 17 to 25 May. The Health Assembly, which is the highest governing body of WHO, meets annually and is attended by delegations from the Organization's 191 Member States. The role of the World Health Assembly is to review the progress and performance of WHO and give direction to its future work. WHO Director-General Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland called the Health Assembly "an opportunity to build support and consensus on key health issues". This year was Dr Brundtland's first as Director-General; she was elected at the 51st Health Assembly last year.

In her statement to delegates, Dr Brundtland outlined four main challenges for the future, namely:

* reducing the burden of excess mortality and preventable disability suffered by the poor;

* countering potential threats to health resulting from economic crises, unhealthy environments and risky behaviour;

* developing more effective health systems since in many parts of the world these are ill-equipped to cope with present demands, let alone the demands of the future;

* expanding the knowledge base that has made the 20th-century revolution in health possible.

"Making a difference is our watchword," Dr Brunddand said. "In everything we do we have to ask: how can we best make the biggest impact and difference in people's health?" She described WHO as "first and foremost a technical agency devoted to the support of sustainable health systems, which offers its advice strategically to support the real needs of countries". However, she added that the Organization also has the role of a catalyst -- "to unleash the resources of national governments, development banks and bilateral partners".

Dr Brundtland's words were backed up by The World Health Report 1999, titled "Making a difference"(a), which was presented to the Health Assembly. The report stressed that the main priority must be to make health systems more cost-effective, to increase equity, and to fight the diseases that make up the main burden of disease. The two major challenges confronting health systems in all countries, according to the report, are how to ensure efficiency and how to achieve and maintain universal coverage of health care.

New features of this year's World Health Assembly were a lecture on health in development and a series of roundtables for health ministers. The lecture was given by Professor Amartya Sen, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, in the United Kingdom, who received the 1998 Nobel Prize in economics for his work in welfare economics. "Even when an economy is poor," Dr Sen said, "major health improvements can be achieved through using the available resources in a socially positive way."(b)

Over 100 ministers of health took part in the roundtable discussions that covered four topics: priority setting in the health sector, investment in hospitals, "finding the money", and HIV/AIDS. Each roundtable was aimed at enabling ministers to share lessons learned and thereby help others to plan more effectively. Well-known journalists served as moderators of the wide-ranging debates which were introduced by technical experts.

The 52nd World Health Assembly discussed a variety of technical issues -- such as those related to smallpox vaccine, poliomyelitis, iodine deficiency and malaria -- as well as essential drugs, health systems, ageing, and tobacco control.

In 1996, the World Health Assembly agreed to the destruction, by 30 June 1999, of the two known stocks of smallpox virus -- at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA and at the State Centre for Research on Virology and Biotechnology in the Russian Federation -- subject to confirmation by this year's World Health Assembly. The last case of smallpox recorded was in 1978 in Somalia, and WHO declared the disease officially eradicated in 1980. This year's Health Assembly affirmed that "the final elimination of all variola virus remains the goal of the World Health Organization and all Member States". …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Highlights of the 52nd World Health Assembly
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.