What do we do now?


Sir Michael Marmot and USC students

“What did we learn from the World Health Assembly?”

It is a question with many answers, to which each of us would answer differently, but I can safely say that we all understood that it is here, in these kinds of meetings, that major global policies are voted then brought back home to be implemented.
Some day, it will be us, future epidemiologists, environmentalists and health advocates, who will design interventions reflecting policies decided at the WHO, yet specific enough to the communities we work in to be successful. In other words, the resolutions and targets decided here will have to be translated into operational interventions to achieve specific goals.

An example: this year at the world health assembly, one major topic of debate was the reduction by 25% of premature deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 2025.
The NCD alliance was one of the main lobbyists in this campaign.
Many rejected the initial draft. Thailand, for example, considered that this resolution would be a burden to the poorest Southeast Asian countries. Denmark, speaking in the name of the 27 European Union members, wanted to see high cholesterol removed from the list of diseases.
However, after several days of rough negotiations, the resolution was finally adopted.
Today, health ministers are back home. The question they are asking themselves, which is of interest to us MPH students, is:
“What do we do now in our communities to achieve this target?