May 24, 2017
On Tuesday, May 23 and Wednesday, May 24, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D. completed his participation in the 70th World Health Assembly by leading the U.S. delegation in meetings with public health officials from Singapore, the WHO Africa Regional Office, Finland, Norway, the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office, and Brazil. These discussions wrapped up three days of meetings with many member state delegations to advance cooperation and collaboration on global health security, and other areas of important health collaboration.
Secretary Price spoke at an event at the Geneva Press Club focused on priorities for the next WHO Director-General. The Secretary shared his vision for the WHO as a place that can attract the most talented individuals from around the world with state-of-the-art expertise to advance the WHO’s mission of enhancing the public health – including defeating diseases like polio – as well as addressing potential and actual health emergencies. Secretary Price encouraged his fellow health officials to embrace reforms to create a more transparent and accountable culture at the WHO.
On Tuesday afternoon, the WHA held the first ever election of a new Director-General that was open to all member states and elected Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia. Secretary Price congratulated the incoming Director-General, saying:
“The United States looks forward to working with the new Director-General and our public health partners at the WHO to reform and strengthen the organization and enhance the ability of all nations to protect the health of their people. Global health security begins at home. WHO must play an integral part in preventing, detecting, responding to, and recovering from local health emergencies so that we reduce the potential of them becoming global health emergencies.”
Prior to leaving Geneva, Secretary Price met with Dr. Tedros – emphasizing the commitment the United States has to the mission of the WHO, to reforming the organization, and to strengthening global health security.