I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States on agenda items 11.1, 11.3 and 11.8.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia , Montenegro and Albania , the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Ukraine and Armenia align themselves with this statement.
Covid-19 has confirmed that resilient, comprehensive primary health services are one of the cornerstones of effective health systems, and we acknowledge WHO’s continuous support to countries in the development and strengthening of these services.
We understand that during the spring the secretariat cancelled the in-person consultation on the Operational Framework for PHC, and that an online consultation was carried out in April. This seems reasonable given the circumstances. However, the EU and its Member States did not receive an invitation to this consultation, and were not aware of it. Hence, we have not been able to input to this important document. We underline that the secretariat needs to follow the decisions of the Executive Board.
We understand the importance of moving forward with this guidance, and we do not want to stand in the way of that. But we do look forward to participating constructively in further consultations on the Operational Framework after this Assembly.
Immunisation is a cornerstone of Primary Healthcare, and we thank the secretariat for Immunisation Agenda 2030. However, we note that IA2030 contains only one reference to Covid-19, although we will be dealing with this pandemic for many years. We understand that IA2030 sets out the global strategy for immunisation which will be operationalised through regional and national strategies, an ownership and accountability mechanism, and a monitoring and evaluation framework.
The European Union and its Member States expect to see both the impact of Covid-19 on immunisation, and the fair, equitable, affordable access to Covid-19 vaccines reflected in these supplementary strategies. Extensive immunisation against Covid-19 is recognised as a global public good for health by Member States, and therefore we wish to ask the secretariat how this will be operationalised in these documents.
The EU also recognises that Neglected Tropical Diseases continue to affect the lives of the poorest populations across almost every country, and are often underserved by primary healthcare systems and immunisation. Addressing surveillance issues and supporting prevention, diagnosis, and treatment is critical to achieving the SDGs and UHC.
We appreciate the new Roadmap for NTDs and we encourage efforts to build a strong monitoring framework to evaluate progress. We believe that WHO and its Member States should work on removing barriers to access for at-risk populations through appropriate actions as defined in the Roadmap. We particularly highlight increasing health literacy on NTDs; establishing strong referral systems, particularly at community and primary care level; establishing cross-sectoral partnerships to support appropriate interventions integrated within the health system; and the timely accessibility, availability and affordability of quality-assured vaccines, diagnostics, treatments and other complementary supplies.
Finally, the EU confirms that it will cosponsor the decision on this agenda point.
*The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.