Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Voluntary Health Fund for SIDS approved

The World Health Assembly (WHA) has adopted a landmark decision led by Fiji on behalf of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Geneva, Switzerland to establish for the first time a Voluntary Health Fund for SIDS.

This will reduce the financial burden on Governments in funding its delegations for World Health Organization (WHO) sanctioned meetings and negotiation sessions.

The WHA also approved the Terms of Reference for the Voluntary Health Fund which guides the Member States and the WHO in operationalisation of the Fund.

In its decisions, the WHA instructed WHO Director-General to make necessary arrangements to make the Health Fund operational immediately.

The Director-General was further instructed to report on the Health Fund’s operations including its terms of reference by 2027.

The Fund would inter alia facilitate the participation of SIDS in WHO meetings and support the provision of technical assistance and capacity building programs for SIDS.

Once implemented, the Fund will financially support Fiji’s technical officials to attend the WHO meetings and negotiation sessions, technical assistance and capacity building programs.

Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Atonio Lalabalavu while delivering the joint statement on behalf of all SIDS underscored that “SIDS are a diverse group of countries, they are highly vulnerable to external economic and financial shocks, which affect them 35 per cent more than other developing countries which hinders their progress in fulfilling the SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.”

The terms of reference and decisions were adopted by consensus.

The next step is for member states and donor partners to make efforts to make deposits into the Fund.

The Ministerial decision culminated from a resolution presented by Fiji in May 2022 along the margins of 75th Session of the WHA led by the Permanent Mission of Fiji in Geneva.

The resolution amongst others recognised the vulnerabilities of SIDS to extreme weather events, including natural and man-made hazards, external economic shocks and public health emergencies.

It underscored the importance of strong and resilient health systems, underpinned by the universal health coverage, with focus on equitable access, financial protection and development financing in the era of COVID-19 and beyond.

As its basis, the resolution recalled the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution which set forth the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway for an accelerated development plan for SIDS, and the General Assembly resolution which adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with the collective aim towards a transformative step for sustainable and resilient path.

Fiji maintained its leadership role by advancing negotiations that would culminate in tangible benefits for its people as well as the SIDS community.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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