World Health Assembly 2023
Chairperson Ms. Saima Wazed actively participated at the World Health Assembly, as part of the Bangladeshi delegation, led by Honorable Health Minister of Bangladesh, Zahid Maleque, MP. After the opening of the Assembly, the delegates traveled 3.2 km to commemorate the ’Walk the Talk’ event held on 21 May 2023. This year, the fourth edition of ‘Walk the Talk’ coincided with WHO’s 75th anniversary and provided an opportunity to promote solidarity and activity for physical and mental health.
On the third day of the World Health Assembly, Ms. Wazed moderated a side-event on mental health ‘No Health Without Mental Health: An Intergenerational Dialogue between Commonwealth youth leaders and policy makers’. The objective of the session was to provide a wider forum for ministers to deliberate on key policy recommendations to address the rising burden of mental health among young people. The side event was a collaboration between the Government of Bangladesh, the Government of Rwanda, and the Commonwealth Youth Health Network.
The panelists were Yvan Butera, State Minister, Ministry of Health, Government of Rwanda, Zahid Maleque, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Bangladesh, Valasi Luapitofanua Toogamaga Tafito Selesele, Minister of Health, Government of Samoa and Dr. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness, Government of Jamaica. The discussion ended with presentation of gave key policy recommendations and strategies needed to ensure that mental health is integrated within PHC as countries transition towards recovery and prepare for future health emergencies.
The event shed light on the Dhaka-Kigali Compact which was adopted during a side event on Mental Health at the Kigali summit, held in June 2022. The Dhaka-Kigali Compact identified coordinated and sustained response to mental health needs among young people. At the session, participants spoke about ways in which countries could engage young people as partners in delivering the promise of making quality mental health services.
At the World Health Assembly Ms. Wazed met with fellow international experts, policymakers, advocates, and high-level government representatives. She had several bilateral meetings and a reception hosted by Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia Region, and another reception hosted by the Swiss Government. The meetings were with H.E. Ms. Dechen Wangmo, Hon’ble Health Minister of Bhutan, H.E. Ahmed Naseem, Hon’ble Health Minister of Maldives, H.E. Khalid Ait Taleb, Hon’ble Health Minister of Morocco, Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella, Hon’ble Health Minister of Sri Lanka, H.E. Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Hon’ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare of India, Ms. Devora Kestel, Director, Mental Health and Substance Use Department, WHO, and the Head of Delegation of Timor Leste.
During WHA2023, at a reception organized by Bangladesh, our Chairperson Saima Wazed was introduced as Bangladesh’s candidate for the position of Regional Director of WHO-SEARO. High level delegates from member countries, partners, and friends attended the lunch reception.
The WHA2023 was a platform for sharing experiences, commitments and plans for making UHC a reality for children with developmental disabilities and their families. The various discussions which took place focused on ways to take collective steps to implement and monitor changes.
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