Assembly (WHA) is the forum through which the World
Organization (WHO) is governed by its 194 member states. It is
the world's highest health policy setting body and is composed of
health ministers from member states.
The members of the World
Assembly generally meet every year in
May in Geneva, the location of WHO Headquarters. The main tasks of the
WHA are to decide major policy questions, as well as to approve the
WHO work programme and budget and elect its Director General.
1 Members and observers
3 Annual Assemblies
3.1 2018: Seventy-first WHA
3.2 2017: Seventieth WHA
3.3 2016: Sixty-ninth WHA
3.4 2015: Sixty-eighth WHA
3.5 2014: Sixty-seventh WHA
3.6 2013: Sixty-sixth WHA
3.7 2012: Sixty-fifth WHA
3.8 2009: Sixty-second WHA
4 See also
5 Notes and references
6 External links
Members and observers
The original membership of the WHA, at the first assembly held in
1948, numbered 55 member states. The WHA has, currently, 194 member
In addition, seven agencies have observer status at the WHA - the
Vatican, the Palestinian Authority, the Order of Malta, the
International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation
of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Inter-Parliamentary
Union, and The Department of
Health of the Republic of China, commonly
known as Taiwan, was invited on 28 April 2009 to participate in the
WHA 2009 as an observer for the first time since losing its China seat
United Nations to People's
Republic of China
Republic of China in 1971. The
invitation was extended to "the Department of Health, Chinese
The main international policy frameworks adopted through WHA
International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, adopted in
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, adopted in 2003
Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health
Personnel, adopted in 2010
In addition, the WHA has endorsed through resolutions a number of WHO
action plans dealing with different areas to improve health around the
world, such as:
Worldwide eradication of smallpox, first endorsed in 1959, and then
declared to have been won in 1980
Worldwide eradication of polio, first endorsed in 1988, recently
re-affirmed in 2011
Control of human hookworm infection through regular deworming of
at-risk school children, endorsed in 2001
WHO global action plan for workers' health, endorsed in 2007
Control of harmful use of alcohol, endorsed in 2010
Enhanced global actions for the prevention and control of
non-communicable diseases, endorsed in 2011
The WHA is also responsible for the endorsement of the WHO Family of
International Classifications, a series of internationally
standardized medical classifications, including the International
Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the International Classification
of Functioning, Disability and
2018: Seventy-first WHA
The 71st World
Health Assembly takes place 21-26 May 2018.
2017: Seventieth WHA
WHO President, May 2017, 69th WHA
The 70th World
Health Assembly took place 22-31 May 2017.
2016: Sixty-ninth WHA
The 69th World
Health Assembly took place 23-28 May 2016, and agreed
to pursue the health-related
Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
through a comprehensive set of foundational steps, prioritizing
universal health coverage, working with actors outside the health
sector to address the social, economic and environmental root causes
of antimicrobial resistance and other human health problems, to
continue expanding efforts to address poor maternal and child health
and infectious diseases in developing countries, and to focus upon
equity within and between countries. Delegates decided to invite the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s (WHO FCTC) Conference
of the Parties (COP) to provide information on outcomes of this
biennial event to future World
Health Assembly meetings.
2015: Sixty-eighth WHA
The 68th session of the World
Health Assembly (WHA) took place in
Geneva 18–26 May 2015. The
Health Assembly is the supreme
decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all
WHO Member States. Its main functions are to determine the policies of
the Organization, supervise financial policies, and review and approve
the proposed programme budget.
Jagat Prakash Nadda assumed new
presidency of WHA. India assumed the presidency after a gap of 19
During the assembly the WHA agreed to the Global Malaria Strategy and
Programme Budget for 2016-2017, polio, International Health
Regulations, strengthening surgical care, WHO's reform of its
emergency and response programme, antimicrobial resistance,
immunization gaps, malnutrition, air pollution, and epilepsy. Annual
health awards were given by the Director-General of WHO and the
President of WHA.
2014: Sixty-seventh WHA
The 67th WHA took place in
Geneva on 19–24 May 2014. Among the more
than 20 resolutions adopted by the Assembly included ones concerning
strengthening of national drug management systems to address
antimicrobial resistance; implementation of the
Minamata Convention to
protect human health and the environment from effects of exposure to
mercury and mercury compounds; and improving access to essential
medicines worldwide. Also endorsed was a global monitoring
framework for maternal, infant and child nutrition.
Following the 67th WHA, the WHO's Director-General Dr Margaret Chan
was criticized by the Association of Correspondents Accredited to the
United Nations (ACANU) for not having spoken directly to the media
during the course of the Assembly.
2013: Sixty-sixth WHA
In her address to the 66th WHA in May 2013, WHO Director-General
Margaret Chan traced a brief history of revisions to the International
Health Regulations following the
SARS outbreak in 2002-3, the "first
severe new disease of the 21st century." She observed that the two new
diseases WHO is dealing with in 2013 are the novel coronavirus (MERS),
from the same family as SARS, detected in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, and
the first-ever human infections with the H7N9 avian influenza virus
reported in China in 2013. She attributed the positive report by
Health Statistics (May 2013) on dramatic improvement in
health in the world's poorest countries from 1993-2013, to the
emphasis placed on poverty alleviation by the Millennium Development
Goals. She announced the emergence of global action plans for
noncommunicable diseases, mental health, and the prevention of
avoidable blindness and visual impairment calling for a life-course
approach which includes "equity through universal health coverage,"
preventive strategies and "integrated service delivery."
Margaret Chan declared at the Assembly that Intellectual Property,
or patents on strains of new virus, should not impede nations from
protecting their citizens by limiting scientific investigations.
Following the 2012 MERS outbreak in Saudi Arabia, Deputy Health
Minister Ziad Memish raised concerns that scientists who applied for a
patent would not allow the MERS-coronavirus to be used for
investigations by other scientists and were therefore delaying the
development of diagnostic tests. Ten of the 22 people who died and 22
of 44 cases reported were in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia–based
microbiologist Ali Mohamed Zaki reported the first known case, a
60-year-old Saudi man who got sick in June, 2012 on ProMed-mail, a
public health on-line forum then published more details including
the virus’s genetic makeup and closest relatives. The
Erasmus Medical Center "tested, sequenced and identified" a sample
provided by Ali Mohamed Zaki. Erasmus MC and Dr. Zaki strongly
refuted all allegations concerning a presumed lack of willingness to
cooperate in research into the new MERS coronavirus, making diagnostic
tests and virus specimens freely available to all research
institutions around the globe.
2012: Sixty-fifth WHA
Among other actions, the 65th Assembly endorsed the Rio Political
Declaration to address the social determinants of health, intended to
spearhead support for all countries to adopt inclusive ‘
All’ approaches to health promotion. It also endorsed the first
World Immunization Week.
2009: Sixty-second WHA
In her role as global patron of The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe
Motherhood, and chair of the Maternal Mortality Campaign, Sarah Brown
gave the keynote speech at the World
Health Organisation's 62nd WHA,
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, asking
"Where is the M in MCH?’ [maternal and child health]" in an echo of
Allan Rosenfield's landmark Lancet article of 1985 - and highlighting
that the numbers of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth were still
the same 14 years later.
United Nations General Assembly resolutions
United Nations Security Council resolutions
Notes and references
Health Organization. World
Health Assembly. Geneva. Retrieved
21 June 2011.
^ WHO. Working for health: an introduction to the World Health
^ WHO. Countries. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
^ Beijing may help Taipei in WHO role. Posted by China Daily,
Taiwan invited to attend World
Health Assembly. Posted by The China
Post, April 29, 2009.
^ WHO. Milestones in the eradication of smallpox. Retrieved 21 June
^ WHO. Poliomyelitis. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
^ a b WHO. Sixty-fourth World
Health Assembly closes after passing
multiple resolutions. Geneva, 24 May 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
^ WHO,  Geneva, 26 May 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
Health Organization, World
Health Assembly closes. Geneva, 24
May 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
Health Organization, Informal consultation with Member States
and UN Agencies on proposed set of indicators for the Global
Monitoring Framework for Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition.
Retrieved 9 April 2014.
^ WHO, World
Health Assembly approves monitoring framework for
maternal and child nutrition. Geneva, 21 May 2014. Retrieved 20 June
^ Pamela Das, Gabriela Sotomayor, WHO and the media: a major
impediment to global health? The Lancet, 383(9935):2102-2104, 21 June
^ a b c Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health
Organization (20 May 2013). WHO Director-General addresses the
Health Assembly (Report). Geneva, Switzerland: World
Health Organization (WHO).
^ "WHO urges information sharing over novel coronavirus". BBC News. 23
^ a b Saey, Tina Hesman (27 February 2013). "Scientists race to
understand deadly new virus: SARS-like infection causes severe
illness, but may not spread quickly". 183 (6). Science News.
^ Ali Mohamed Zaki; et al. (8 November 2012). "Isolation of a novel
coronavirus from a man with pneumonia in Saudi Arabia". New England
Journal of Medicine. 367 (19): 1814–20. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1211721.
^ Heilprin, John (23 May 2013). The Associated Press (AP), ed. "WHO:
Probe into deadly coronavirus delayed by sample dispute". Geneva:
^ Erasmus MC, Erasmus MC: no restrictions for public health research
into MERS coronavirus. Rotterdam, 24 May 2013.
^ WHO. 65th World
Health Assembly closes with new global health
measures. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
World Immunization Week
World Immunization Week essentials.
Retrieved 9 April 2014.
Health Organisation". 19 May 2009. Retrieved 5 August
Health Organisation, Keynote address to 62nd World Health
Assembly by Sarah Brown, Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe
Motherhood". 19 May 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
Health Assembly documents
United Nations portal
Health and fi