WHA approves Voluntary Health Fund for SIDS

May 29, 2023 10:29 am

The World Health Assembly has adopted a landmark decision led by Fiji on behalf of the Small Island Developing States in Geneva, Switzerland establishing for the first time a Voluntary Health Fund for SIDS.

The Voluntary Health Fund will reduce the financial burden on Government in funding its’ delegations for the World Health Organization sanctioned meetings and negotiation sessions.

The WHA also approved the Terms of Reference for the Fund which guides the Member States and the WHO in operationalisation of the Fund.

Article continues after advertisement

In its decisions, the WHA instructed WHO Director-General to make necessary arrangements to make the Health Fund operational immediately.

The Director-General is further instructed to report on the Health Fund’s operations including its terms of reference by 2027.

The Fund would inter alia facilitate the participation of SIDS in WHO meetings and support the provision of technical assistance and capacity building programs for SIDS.

Once implemented, the Fund will support Fiji’s technical officials to attend the WHO meetings and negotiation sessions, technical assistance and capacity building programs.

Minister for Health, Dr Atonio Lalabalavu says SIDS are a diverse group of countries, and highly vulnerable to external economic and financial shocks.

He adds this affects us 35% more than other developing countries which hinders progress in fulfilling the SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

The next step is for member states and donor partners to make efforts to make deposits into the Fund.

The Ministerial decision culminated from a resolution presented by Fiji in May 2022 along the margins of 75th Session of the WHA led by the Permanent Mission of Fiji in Geneva.