The 69th session of the World Health Assembly
- Category: Mission Afghanistan UNOG
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The 69th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) was convened from 23rd to 28th May 2016, bringing together around 3500 delegates from WHO’s 194 member states, including a large number of the World’ s Health Ministers and Health professionals. The main functions of the WHA are to determine the policies of WHO, supervise financial policies, review and approve the proposed program budget, set new goals and assign new tasks. Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization opened the sixty-ninth World Health Assembly with words of celebration, warning and hope. The Health Assembly elected Dr. Ahmad Bin Mohammad Al Saidi, Minister of Public Health of Oman as its new President and the five Vice-Presidents were appointed from Armenia, Chat, Malaysia, Panama and Timor-Leste. The Assembly discussed a total of 76 agenda items.
The Afghan Delegation was represented by Dr. Abdul Wali Ghayur, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Public Health, Mr. Azizullah Omar, Counsellor of the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations in Geneva, Dr. Mamosai Zewar, ICU Project Coordinator and Dr. Wahid Majrooh, Acting Director for International Relations of Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health.
Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization at the opening ceremony called on countries to celebrate the recent progress in global public health, particularly in combating HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and polio, as well as in improving maternal and child health. Dr. Chan stated that commitment to Millennium Development Goals brought focus, energy, creative innovation and above all money to bear on some of the biggest health challenges that marked the start of the century. As the international community enters the era of sustainable development, the global health landscape is being shaped by three show-motion disasters: a changing climate, the failure of more and more mainstay antimicrobials and the raise of chronic noncommunicable disease as the leading killers worldwide. Talking about health treat, Dr. Chan added that we need to celebrate not only the wealth of achievements and lessons learned during the MDGs era, but also every victory that permanently eliminate a health threat.
During the session the member states agreed to one of the most profound transformations in the organization’s history, establishing a new Health Emergency Program to deliver rapid, predictable and comprehensive support to countries and communities in recovering from emergencies caused by any type of hazard to human health, whether disease outbreaks, natural or man-made disasters or conflict.
On the side-line of the 69th WHA, the Afghan Delegation attended the Non-Aligned movement (NAM) and Economic Cooperation Organization(ECO) Ministerial meetings and held bilateral meetings with senior Representative from Global Fund, the partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Gavi Alliance, Medicine Sans Frontier, Polio Eradication Initiative with its other international stakeholders involved in Polio eradication projects in Afghanistan. Polio was among the important issues discussed in the committee A and the Afghan Delegation while updating the committee on the progress made, stated that the efforts of polio eradication in Afghanistan have been intensified significantly with the support of partners and leadership of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Dr. Ghayur mentioned that National and three regional Emergency Operation Centers in priority regions along with five Provincial Coordination Units in priority provinces have been established to lead day to day operation of Polio eradication efforts. Furthermore, 206 Permanent Transit Teams are deployed around inaccessible areas vaccinating more than 600,000 children every month.
The Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly was closed after approving new resolution on WHO’s framework for engagement with non-state Actors, the sustainable development goals, the International health regulations, tobacco control, road traffic deaths and injuries, nutrition, HIV, Hepatitis and STIs, Mycetoma, access to medicines and integrated health services.
Intercessional meetings of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention
- Category: Disarmament
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Dr. Suraya Dalil, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations participated at the in Intercessional meetings of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention which took place from 19-20 May 2016 at World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva.
Ambassador Dalil delivered a statement that contained the development of the Mine Action Program of Afghanistan, which covers all five pillars of mine action for the period from 2013 to 2023 that was jointly developed in consultation with the relevant stakeholders. The plan is in line with current national and international policies and treaties. It sets out clear ambitions and results to be achieved, supported by robust action plans, monitoring and evaluation, risk mitigation strategies and coordination.
Ambassador Dalil furthermore expressed the commitment of the government of Afghanistan to fulfil its obligation under the Convention and stipulated that the Mine Action Program of Afghanistan, since its establishment in 1989, has cleared many areas from mines and Explosive Remanents of War (ERW), whereas over 600 square kilometers of ground remain to be cleared.
Part of this meeting Ambassador Dalil, participated as a panellist in a thematic discussion on how countries build political will to address anti-personnel mines both nationally in order to carry out their own obligations and commitments, and globally to achieve the vision of a mine-free world by 2025 as articulated in the Maputo Declaration. Other Speakers in the panel were Mr. Jaime Chissano, Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Republic of Mozambique to the United Nations in Geneva; Ms. Katy Donnelly, Deputy Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations and to the Conference on Disarmament and other International Organisations; and Mr. Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, Research Coordinator on Ban Policy (Asia, Pacific, Middle-East and North Africa) for the Landmine and Cluster Munitions Monitor, International Campaign to Ban Landmines. The panel was moderated by Ambassador Rosemary McCarney, Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva.
In the panel Ambassador Dalil talked about the National Mine Action Strategic Plan of Afghanistan, increase in the number of casualties to an average of 100 per month from 2013 till now that are mainly caused by the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), the pain and hardship that the victims of mines experience and the political commitment of the government of Afghanistan to fulfil its obligation under the Convention. To achieve a mine-free world by 2025, Ambassador Dalil mentioned that Afghanistan is committed to focus on national ownership, effective coordination between various stakeholders and assistance to the survivors; however the country needs sustainable financial assistance from international partners alongside its own resources to accomplish the goal of a Mine-Free Afghanistan before 2025.
Polio Eradication and the Implications for Health Governance
- Category: Mission Afghanistan UNOG
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H.E. Dr. Suraya DALIL, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations participated in panel discussion on Polio Eradication and the Implications for Health Governance organized by the global health program at the Geneva Graduate Institute on Friday 11th March 2016.
Other Speakers in the panel were H.E. Ms. Tehmina Janjua, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, H.E. Ms. Carole Lanteri, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations and the Co-chair of Polio Partners Group, Mr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi Alliance and Mr. Jan Hendrik Schmitz Guinote, Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations. The event was moderated by Ms. Ilona Kickbusch, Director of the global health program at the Graduate Institute.
Ambassador DALIL in her presentation stated that Polio Eradication have been a remarkable journey in Afghanistan that has tangible achievements and impact on the life of children, but at the same time it was also confronted with obstacles and challenges. Polio Eradication is among the very successful public health programs in Afghanistan that reaches more than seven million children all over the country at least four times a year. There is a strong commitment by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan toward polio Eradication. This commitment is evident directly from the President’s office through the Polio Eradication steering committee chaired by H.E. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and with the participation of the relevant cabinet Ministers and governors of high-risk provinces. To ensure results, eradication of polio has been included in the performance appraisal of relevant provincial governors and NGOs that provide basic health care.
On the measures taken by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to eradicate polio; among others, Ambassador DALIL mentioned the National Emergency Action Plan (NEAP) that was developed three years ago and since then it remains a top agenda for the country. Furthermore, multi-sectorial collaboration between different ministries, provincial and district governors, health and non-health stakeholders and local community members have been a great help to minimize the security challenges and improve the campaign quality in all over the country.
Afghanistan hosts a number of refugees especially from Waziristan, many of whom were not vaccinated prior to their arrival to Afghanistan, the Government Afghanistan pays significant attention that those refugees receive not only polio vaccines but also other necessary vaccines. On the legacy of post polio era, Ambassador DALIL mentioned surveillance, micro-planning and working with others at the operational level have been great lessons learned for the Government of Afghanistan. Cross border coordination between Afghanistan and Pakistan remains a vital priority. The Polio teams in both countries share surveillance data on a weekly basis and synchronize the vaccination dates.
On the challenges; inaccessibility due to conflict, climate of fear in certain areas as well as demand-related gaps and overall gaps in routine immunization within the health system were mentioned.
- The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Geneva strongly support the work of ICRC and stands committed to a fruitful partnership.
- Two Afghan Government employees completed Executive Masters Degree at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva
- The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan together with the United Nations Women's Guild (UNWG) host morning coffee at the United Nations
- Ambassador Dalil meets Executive Chairman of World Economic Forum to explore investment and business opportunities in and through Afghanistan