By Susan Hagos
The first official day of the 68th World Health Assembly was an incredible experience! The opening speech was provided by Margaret Chan, current Director General of WHO. She emphasized the need for creating sustainable health systems that not only require nation-states to commit to policies but also hold them accountable for maintaining progress. In order to do so, health systems must be developed to measure, monitor and report regular progress to WHO. Additionally, all health-related aid must be channelled through existing health systems in member-states.
I also attended a briefing on Non-Communicable Diseases hosted by the NCD Alliance, which is a coalition of organizations such as the International Diabetes Federation and Alzheimer’s Disease International. The organizations involved highlighted that in order to move forward with addressing NCD’s in the Post-2015 Agenda, efforts need to focus upon establishing appropriate measures of progress. By doing so, the risk factors can be identified and reduced to better strengthen the capacity of health systems. Additionally, in order to ensure accountability across member-states, guidelines should also be accompanied with appropriate resources for implementation. The burden of NCD’s is a development issue which requires cross-sectoral collaboration to address. In order to achieve sustainable change, efforts need to focus upon building consensus amongst major stakeholders and empowering nation-states with the capacity to implement changes.