Member attends the World Health Assembly

Date: 07/07/17

Melanie Gibson-Helm (Monash Centre for  Health Research and Implementation) attended the World Health Assembly (WHA)  held at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, from the 22nd  to 31st of May 2017. The WHA is the World Health Organisation’s  (WHO) annual decision-making meeting and is attended by all member states. This  year’s WHA was particularly important as it included the election of the new WHO  Director General. Dr Margaret Chan (China) has served as Director-General for  ten years; Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Ethiopia) was elected to take up the  job in July 2017.

Spending a week at the WHA was an amazing  opportunity to witness health policy being made at the highest level. I saw the  balance between foreign policy and health policy in action. I appreciated what  an art it is for countries to present their context, progress, challenges and  position on a given topic in only a few minutes! I also learned about how  “non-state actors” (non-government organisations, philanthropic organisations  and academic institutions) interact and work with the WHO.

I am very grateful to the World Federation  of Public Health Associations for facilitating my attendance at the WHA.

And to answer the question that everybody  asks, yes I did get to wear one of those funky translating ear pieces!