IFRC statement at the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board 150th session

A volunteer from the Indonesian Red Cross in Tangerang, Indonesia performs a health check up on a woman before administering a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in January 2022.

A volunteer from the Indonesian Red Cross in Tangerang, Indonesia performs a health check up on a woman before administering a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in January 2022.

Photo: Indonesian Red Cross/Arief Novrizal

The following statement was delivered on the opening day of the WHO Executive Board 150th session on 24 January 2022 and is attributable to the IFRC:

The IFRC was born out of the 1918 Pandemic, and Epidemic Preparedness and Response are part of our DNA.

We have a historic opportunity to reform the global health architecture this year. Let me propose 3 lenses through which we should measure success:

  1. First, epidemics thrive on socio-economic and geographic inequities, affecting levels of trust, access to health services and quality of surveillance - let us not ignore this and over-medicalize our discussions.
  2. Second, it is crucial that domestic disaster laws and frameworks, including public health emergencies, go beyond IHR capacities to be truly comprehensive and inclusive.
  3. Finally, having effective vaccines, tests and treatments available at scale is critical, but it will not ensure their uptake or availability in communities. Community engagement and health systems are key to leaving no one behind.

The IFRC and its 192 member National Societies stand ready to share their legal and health expertise and recommendations to ensure reforms are not only powerful on paper, but transformative in reality.

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