WHO / WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY OPENING

23-May-2022 00:08:35
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) told health ministers on that although reported COVID-19 cases and deaths have declined significantly, it is not time yet for any country to lower its guard. WHO
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STORY: WHO / WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY OPENING
TRT: 08:36
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 23 MAY 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, World Health Assembly
2. Med shot, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the dais being introduced
3. Wide shot, World Health Assembly
4. Tracking shot, Tedros walking up to podium
5. Wide shot, Tedros at the podium
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"More than two years into the most severe health crisis in a century, where do we stand is the question? More than 6 million COVID-19 deaths have been reported to WHO. But as you know, our new estimates of excess mortality are much higher – almost 15 million deaths. Reported cases have declined significantly from the peak of the Omicron wave in January of this year. And reported deaths are at their lowest since March 2020. In many countries, all restrictions have been lifted, and life looks much like it did before the pandemic. So, is it over? No, it’s most certainly not over. I know that’s not the message you want to hear, and it’s definitely not the message I want to deliver."
7. Various shots, WHA
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"There’s no question we have made progress, of course we have made progress: 60 percent of the world’s population is vaccinated, helping to reduce hospitalizations and deaths, allowing health systems to cope, and societies to reopen. But it’s not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere. Reported cases are increasing in almost 70 countries in all regions – and this in a world in which testing rates have plummeted. And reported deaths are rising on my continent – the continent with the lowest vaccination coverage. This virus has surprised us at every turn – a storm that has torn through communities again and again, and we still can’t predict its path, or its intensity. We lower our guard at our peril."
9. Wide shot, Tedros at the podium
10. Med shot, delegates
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"But of course, the pandemic is not the only crisis in our world. As we speak, our colleagues around the world are responding to outbreaks of Ebola in DRC, monkeypox and hepatitis of unknown cause, and complex humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine and Yemen. We face a formidable convergence of disease, drought, famine and war, fuelled by climate change, inequity and geopolitical rivalry."
12. Med shot, delegates
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"More even than pandemics, war shakes and shatters the foundations on which previously stable societies stood. It deprives whole communities of essential health services, leaving children at risk of vaccine preventable diseases; women at increased risk of sexual violence; expectant mothers at risk of an unsafe birth; and people who live with communicable and noncommunicable diseases without access to the lifesaving services and treatments on which they depend. And it leaves psychological scars that can take years or decades to heal."
14. Wide shot, Tedros at the podium
15. Med shot, delegates
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"There can be no health without peace. But equally, there can be no peace without health. The authors of the WHO Constitution knew this, when they wrote that the health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security and is dependent on the fullest co-operation of individuals and States. Health can contribute to peace by delivering services equitably to all people in a society, especially disadvantaged groups. This can help address the triggers of conflict, such as unequal access to health care, which can often lead to feelings of exclusion and resentment. Equitable health services strengthen community trust, which in turn contributes to strengthening health systems and peace building."
17. Wide shot, Tedros at the podium
18. Med shot, delegates
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"The resolution on Health and Peace that you will consider this week, if adopted, will further support the Secretariat’s efforts to deliver health programmes in conflict-affected areas – programmes that also help to build peace. Health is one of the few areas in which nations can work together across ideological divides to find common solutions to common problems and build bridges."
20. Various shots, WHA
21. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"Excellencies, dear colleagues and friends, you have a full agenda this week – from designing the health workforce of the future, to finishing the eradication of polio, to building a new architecture for global health security; and renewing the drive towards universal health coverage. But none of it can truly succeed in a divided world. It can only succeed if countries work to put aside their differences; To seek common ground where it can be found; To collaborate where possible; To compromise where needed; To seek peace."
22. Various shots, delegates applauding
STORYLINE
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) told health ministers on Sunday (22 May) that although reported COVID-19 cases and deaths have declined significantly, it is not time yet for any country to lower its guard.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus delivered his message during the opening of the annual World Health Assembly - the decision-making body of WHO comprised of representatives of 194 countries.

Noting that it was the first time since 2019 that the Assembly could take place in-person, he asked ministers where the world stood, two years into the most severe health crisis in a century.

Tedros said, “so, is it COVID-19 over? No, it’s most certainly not over. I know that’s not the message you want to hear, and it’s definitely not the message I want to deliver.”

He added that although in many countries all restrictions have been lifted and life looks much like it did before the pandemic, reported cases are increasing in almost 70 countries in all regions.

Tedros warned that reported deaths are also rising in Africa, the continent with the lowest vaccination coverage.

He said, “this virus has surprised us at every turn – a storm that has torn through communities again and again, and we still can’t predict its path, or its intensity.”

While agreeing that progress has been made, with 60 percent of the world’s population already vaccinated, Tedros reminded that almost one billion people in lower-income countries remain unvaccinated.


He pointed out as well that in some countries there is still insufficient political commitment to roll out vaccines, and there are still gaps in operational and financial capacity.

Tedros said that WHO’s primary focus now is to support countries to turn vaccines into vaccinations as fast as possible, but they are still seeing supply-side problems for tests and therapeutics with insufficient funds and access.

Tedros said “as we speak, our colleagues around the world are responding to outbreaks of Ebola in DRC, monkeypox and hepatitis of unknown cause, and complex humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine and Yemen.”

He said, “we face a formidable convergence of disease, drought, famine and war, fuelled by climate change, inequity and geopolitical rivalry.”

The Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly is being held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 22-28 May 2022. It is the first in-person Health Assembly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the meeting, country delegates make decisions on health goals and strategies that will guide public health work and the work of the WHO Secretariat to move the world towards better health and well-being for all.

The theme of this year’s Assembly is Health for peace, peace for health.
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