Feature story

New draft AIDS strategy high on the World Health Assembly agenda

16 May 2011

Credit: WHO/Oliver O'Hanlon

The full adoption of the new draft World Health Organization (WHO) global health strategy for HIV 2011-2015 will be a key focus of discussion at the 64th World Health Assembly, taking place in Geneva from 16-24 May and attended by Health Ministers and officials from more than 190 countries. Intended as a global call to action, the comprehensive draft strategy maps out the WHO latest guidance and approaches to successfully challenging today’s evolving AIDS epidemic.

The World Health Assembly, the highest decision-making body of the World Health Organization which sets policy and approves the budget, will also debate a multiplicity of other issues. These include: pandemic influenza preparedness, cholera and the mechanism for control and prevention, infant and young child nutrition, youth and health risks, safe management of drinking water, climate change and health prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and malaria. The future of financing for WHO will also be high on the agenda.

Today WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan will address the Assembly and on 17 May invited speakers Mrs Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will take the floor.  

Four technical meetings, ranging from public health concerns and radiation health to information and accountability for the health of women and children are also scheduled.

In addition to setting policy, the Assembly will give the gathered government representatives, medical professionals and academics the chance to exchange ideas and experiences. Regional meetings for Ministers of Health are set to provide an opportunity to explore specifically relevant issues.