Noting that this is the first time since 2019, the Council has been able to take place in person, he asked Ministers where the world has stood by the most serious health crisis in a century and two years.
“So it COVID-19 end? No, it’s definitely not over. I know that’s not the message you want to hear, and it’s certainly not the message I want to convey,” he insisted.
He added that although in many countries all restrictions have been lifted and life looks the same as before the pandemic, reported cases are increasing in nearly 70 countries in all regions. .
“…And this in a world where testing rates have plummeted,” he added.
Tedros warned that reported deaths were also on the rise in Africa, the continent with the lowest vaccination rates.
“This virus has taken us by surprise – a storm that has torn communities apart again and again, and we still can’t predict its path or intensity,” he said. , he emphasized.
Global Gaps in the COVID-19 Response
While agreeing that there is progress with 60% of the world’s population vaccinated, Tedros reminds that nearly a billion people in low-income countries are still unvaccinated.
“It doesn’t end anywhere until it ends everywhere… Only 57 countries have vaccinated 70% of their population – most are high-income countries,” he noted.
The WHO chief also warned that increasing transmission means more deaths and the risk of a new variant emerging, and that the current decline in testing and sequencing means “We are blinding ourselves to virus evolution.”
He also pointed out that in some countries there is still not enough political commitment to deploy a vaccine and there are still gaps in operational and financial capacity.
“And in all, we see vaccine hesitancy due to misinformation and misinformation,” he added.
Can the pandemic end?
Tedros said that WHO’s main focus right now is on helping countries turn vaccines into vaccinations as quickly as possible, but they are still facing supply problems for tests and treatments when they don’t have enough experience. cost and accessibility.
“The pandemic will not magically disappear. But we can end it. We have knowledge. We have the tools. Science has given us the upper hand,” he said, calling on countries to work together to achieve 70% vaccination coverage.
Other priorities of the World Health Assembly
Seventy-fifth World Health Council is being held in Geneva, Switzerland, May 22-28, 2022. This is the first in-person Medical Conference since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the meeting, the delegates made decisions on the health goals and strategies that will guide public health work and the work of the WHO Secretariat to move the world towards health and well-being. better for everyone.
The theme of this year’s Association is Health for peace, peace for health.
“As we speak, our colleagues around the world are responding to the outbreak of Ebola in DRC, monkey pox and hepatitis of unknown cause, and complex humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine and Yemen.
We face a formidable convergence of epidemics, droughts, famines and wars, driven by climate change, inequality and geopolitical competition,” Tedros told Ministers. .
Global Health Leadership Award
The WHO Director-General on Sunday also announced six awards to recognize outstanding contributions to promoting global health, demonstrating leadership and commitment to regional health issues.
The winners include Anglo-Lebanon psychiatrist Dr Ahmed Hankir, youth sports advocate Ludmila Sofia Oliveira Varela, and polio workers in Afghanistan.
You can find more information about this year’s winners this