The World Health Organization (WHO) recently participated in a number of joint activities at the 146th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly which took place from 11-15 March 2023 in Manama, Bahrein.
This collaborative work included the launch of the IPU-WHO Handbook on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which follows up on the 2019 IPU resolution on UHC. The handbook aims to introduce parliamentarians to the concept and importance of UHC and describe the key roles Members of Parliaments (MPs) can play to make progress by offering practical and actionable recommendations.
On the launch of the handbook, WHO’s Director-General, Dr Tedros, said: “It therefore gives me great pleasure to launch the new UHC handbook, a joint project of WHO and the IPU, which can help to guide you along the path towards universal health coverage, in accordance with the landmark 2019 IPU resolution.”
Gaudenz Silberschmidt, Head of WHO delegation, also addressed the plenary during the General Debate on “Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: Fighting intolerance”, where he highlighted that the longstanding collaboration between WHO and IPU to improve parliamentary engagement on health has never been more critical.
During the Assembly there was also a side event on ‘UHC and Health Taxes’ to raise awareness on the need to further leverage the role of parliamentarians to progress towards UHC and how they can strengthen their roles at the country level.
The WHO also presented a plan of work with the IPU during the meeting of the IPU Advisory Group on Health. The new workplan confirms the three priority areas of the collaboration: UHC, global health security and promoting health, especially on vulnerable groups, including women, children and adolescents health. It also includes two new areas: the role of parliamentarians in supporting Sustainable Financing for WHO and the Pandemic Accord. Furthermore, WHO and IPU co-organised a workshop on Sexual and Reproductive Health, with a focus on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). This workshop brought together parliamentarians to share perspectives on CSE from their national contexts.