Malaysia Touts Equity, Solidarity, Transparency For Pandemic Treaty

At the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad says Malaysia believes in promoting equity, solidarity, and transparency, amid an ongoing process at WHA to amend the IHR and to conclude a global pandemic treaty.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — Malaysia has called for equity, solidarity, and transparency in drafting a global pandemic treaty and amending the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005. 

In his opening remarks yesterday at the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad described the Covid-19 pandemic as “one of history’s greatest moral failures”, citing the inequity in health care distribution.

However, he noted that the unprecedented global collaboration during the pandemic not only produced life-saving vaccines, but also presented an opportunity for a better way forward.

“The ongoing negotiations by the INB (Intergovernmental Negotiating Body) and Working Group on IHR amendments underscore the undeniable need for collective action and mutual support, which is in line with Malaysia’s belief in promoting equity, solidarity, and transparency as the fundamental principles and building blocks of a stronger and more resilient global health landscape,” Dzulkefly said in his speech.

The health minister added that Malaysia is currently transforming health care financing and service delivery.

“Our vision is centred around a seamlessly integrated, person-centric care, with a strong emphasis on prevention and primary health care,” Dzulkefly said.

“We are transforming the way care is provided by driving digital health innovations to bring services closer to home. This is supported by the equity-enhancing, sustainable health financing reforms.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) said countries have agreed to continue to work during the WHA, which ends on June 1, to finalise amendments to the IHR and to agree on the timing, format, and process to conclude the pandemic agreement.

“Member States reiterated that the world needs a pandemic agreement built on the principles of equity, sovereignty, and prevention, preparedness and response, and to ensure future generations are safeguarded from the threat of inevitable future pandemics,” the WHO said in a press release yesterday.

The process led by governments under the INB to develop the world’s first pandemic accord began in December 2021.

Proposed amendments to the IHR, on the other hand, are aimed at building on lessons learned from the global Covid-19 response.

“Member States stressed that agreement on updated and stronger International Health Regulations were essential for ensuring global health security,” said the WHO.

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