TWN Info Service on Health Issues (Feb18/03)
21 February 2018
Third World Network

Watching WHO's 71st World Health Assembly in May 2018

Call for Watchers!

The People's Health Movement is preparing for watching the 71st meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA-71) taking place from 21st  to 26thMay 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland.

PHM believes that the World Health Organisation (WHO) is the legitimate space for global health policy making. Through the WHO Watch initiative, PHM intervenes in the discussion of WHO's key decisions making bodies and brings the voice of the movements struggling for Health for All to the forefront. In addition, we use this opportunity to organise a capacity building workshop for activists interested in the politics of global health governance. To know more about PHM's WHO Watch Initiative, see a video here or click here, or visit our website here.

Joining the Watch team
We are in the early stages of putting together the Watch. We hope to get watchers from around the world involved, consult with country circles on key issues, and develop a comprehensive commentary on issues on the agenda of the 71st World Health Assembly, which will be available online before the commencement of the WHA.

Consultations will be carried out to include inputs from around the world to the PHM commentary on key issues. This consultation will guide which issues are focused on in the commentary and at WHA meetings.

The week before the meeting, the watchers meet in Geneva during a preparatory workshop to prepare together the positions that PHM will be taking at the WHA and discuss issues of global health. This workshop is also open to activists interested in the politics of global health governance, even if you are not able to stay for the WHA.

During the meeting, we will have a skype channel open where the key points of the discussions will be shared.

A team of watchers will be present at the WHA and will engage with the issues addressed at the meeting by disseminating policy briefs and makes statements from the floor.

This is an opportunity for country circles to present their points of view at the WHA meetings, widen their networks and approaches to issues, as well as build internal capacity.

Some items on this year’s WHA agenda are:

  • WHO reform implementation
  • WHO response in severe, large-scale emergencies
  • Implementation of International Health Regulations (2005)
  • Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework
  • Eradication of polio & Polio Transition planning
  • Global vaccine action plan
  • NCDs: UN General Assembly 2018
  • Addressing Global shortage of, and access to, medicines and vaccines
  • Public health, innovation and intellectual property
  • Progress towards sustainable development goals
  • Safeguarding against possible conflicts of interests in nutrition programmes
  • Improving access to assistive technology
  • Health, environment and climate change

The WHO will release documents with more information on each item as the meeting approaches here.  However, if you find any of the items on the agenda of special importance or can offer information on the topic now, if you would like to be added to the skype channel or just know more about WHO Watch, let us know! You can write to Susana at> and Gargeya at>

Can you attend the WHA71 Meeting?
Through Medicus Mundi International, watchers are able to attend the WHA/EB meeting, distribute PHM’s commentary, advocate our position to country delegates, and deliver statements from the floor to the meeting body.</GARGEYA.T[AT]

We are looking for people who are involved with PHM country circles to attend the preparatory workshop and WHA71 meeting in Geneva. If you are keen in developing your knowledge on issues discussed at the meeting, and to be involved in strengthening the work around these issues in your country or region after the meeting, please let us know. Good English writing skills are necessary as you will have to take notes live in English and all the documents will be written in English. As the work is intense, being able to work under some pressure and still provide support to your co-watchers will be a great advantage. It will be necessary for you to carry a laptop with you. It is also important for the process if watchers are there for the full period of the meetings, including a preparatory workshop the week before the WHA. But you can also opt for attending only the preparatory workshop

Time table: World Health Assembly- May, 2018

  • Arrival: Monday 14th May
  • Preparatory Workshop: 15th to 19th May
  • WHA: 21st to 26th May
  • Departure: 27th May

If you are interested to participate to the WHA70 please fill the form here, before 4th March 2018. Please do note that only a small number of watchers (1 or 2) will be able to join from each region due to the team being small (10-12 watchers in total).


The People's Health Movement (PHM) is a global network bringing together grassroots health activists, civil society organizations and academic institutions from around the world. to know more about PHM see Guided by the People’s Charter for Health, PHM works on various programmes and activities and is committed to Comprehensive Primary Health Care and addressing the Social, Environmental and Economic Determinants of Health.

We welcome contributions/donations from individuals and organizations who believe in our vision and philosophy to support and sustain the activities of the PHM. This enables the PHM to remain uncompromising and independent in the stands we take. Your donation will contribute to movement building, development of resources for evidence-based advocacy, strengthening policy dialogue at different levels, and strengthening the ‘Health for All’ campaign as a platform for experience exchange and joint action. Donate now to PHM.