First joint WHO-World Health Summit strengthens engagement with a diverse range of partners

Dr Ricardo Baptista Leite, President and Founder of UNITE, and Dr Tedros Adhanom GHEBREYESUS shaking hands.

October 2022 – Geneva, WHO signed new agreements with a variety of civil society, political and community stakeholders in October at the World Health Summit in Berlin, a three-day hybrid event that reached some 60 000 participants worldwide.

For the first time, WHO co-hosted the Summit, which drew 4,100 in-person participants from 141 countries to more than to more 60 sessions with a common goal: improving health for everyone, everywhere. At the event, WHO expanded partnerships with civil
society and advocates, and formalized strategic engagements with non-traditional stakeholders – relationships critical to reaching global health goals.

Read on for highlights from the Summit:

International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI)

IANPHI and WHO signed a memorandum of understanding outlining ways the two agencies intend to work together to strengthen public health functions and health emergency preparedness.

WHO and IANPHI share the vision that essential public health functions are a comprehensive and cost-effective approach to advance universal health coverage, health security and healthier populations. The strengthened alliance between WHO and IANPHI is
critical to ensure that global and regional structures are designed to support national and local capacities and provide the right avenues for collaboration and coordination.

Read more: International Association of National Public Health Institutes partners with WHO

UNITE, Parliamentarians Network for Global Health

Showing the diversity and wide reach of the Summit, WHO also signed a memorandum of understanding with UNITE at an event attended in person by more than 40 parliamentarians from 30 countries.

The agreement represents a new step in strengthening WHO engagement with parliaments; UNITE committed to support WHO in raising awareness and building capacity of parliamentarians in three strategic areas of global public health:

  • equitable access to health, with a focus on universal health coverage;
  • health system strengthening, with a focus on supporting sustainable financing for global health; and
  • efficient global health architecture and security and the promotion of the pandemic treaty.

Read more: Parliamentarians commit to support global health (18 October 2022)

More information about UNITE

Dr Ricardo Baptista Leita, President and Founder of UNITE and Dr Tedros, Director-General, WHO

King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief)

WHO and UNICEF signed US$ 10 million in funding agreements with KSRelief to bolster polio and measles programmes in eight countries.

The new funding – providing US$ 5 million each to WHO and UNICEF – comes in response to an emergency call to action by the two agencies to avert major polio and measles epidemics. Both Organizations have urged countries to prioritize childhood vaccination
following global disruptions to immunization programmes caused by COVID-19.

WHO plans to co-organize the 2025 World Health Summit.

Read more: UNICEF and WHO welcome KSRelief funding for measles and polio epidemics prevention

From left to right: Catherine Russel, Executive Director, UNICEF; Dr Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Supervisor General of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief); Dr Tedros, Director-General, WHO

A global consortium to help smokers quit

WHO also launched a business coalition to support the Organization’s work on tobacco cessation and bring more smokers the tools and medications they need to quit. The Tobacco Cessation Consortium is a public-private partnership fighting tobacco dependence.

An estimated 1.3 billion people use tobacco products, 80% of whom live in low- and middle-income countries. In Germany, where the Consortium was launched, 23% of the adult population smokes.

Latest numbers show that 60% of tobacco users worldwide have expressed a desire to quit, but only 30% have access to comprehensive tobacco cessation services.

The Consortium will focus on solving challenges in collaboration with partners, across five pillars: pharmacotherapies and steady delivery of products and medicines that help people quit tobacco; strengthening health systems; speaking to people in power and advocating for increased investment in cessation; identifying innovations and research ideas, reaching more people through digital channels, and promoting the tools developed by partners.

Read more: Pharma, tech and social media companies join forces with WHO to launch a tobacco cessation consortium in Berlin, Germany

Pledging to end polio worldwide

ermany co-hosted a global polio eradication fundraising drive at the Summit that yielded pledges of US$ 2.6 billion.

The money will help the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) carry out its 2022-2026 strategy to overcome the final hurdles to eradicating polio, including vaccinating 370 million children over the next five years and continuing disease surveillance across 50 countries.

GPEI is seeking US$ 4.8 million to end polio, which would become the second disease after smallpox to be eradicated by human intervention.

Pledges came from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Spain, Turkey, United States, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, Latter-day Saint Charities, Rotary International and UNICEF.

Read more: Global leaders commit US$ 2.6 billion at WHS to end polio

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