New WHO 5-Year Programme Is Out. In The Recipe? SDGs, Access To Medicines, Innovation, Better Health For All 01/11/2017 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The new leadership of the World Health Organization today issued its draft new programme of work for the next five years. The programme depicts new orientations for the global health actor, starting with the alignment of the programme with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and universal health coverage. The organisation also commits to help establish policies promoting access to health products, including generic medicines, innovation, and fair pricing. The WHO is set to help address innovation barriers, and to step up its global leadership, but asks that its members actually fully finance the budget that they approve. The WHO published its draft thirteenth general programme of work 2019-2023 [pdf] today. It will be discussed by WHO members on 22-23 November, during a special session of the WHO Executive Board. The draft general programme follows a preliminary concept note that was issued for public consideration and comments (IPW, WHO, 25 October 2017). The comments were not made publicly available. The draft thirteenth general programme of work 2019–2023 (GPW 13) is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, according to the programme, and WHO’s top strategic priority is to support countries to strengthen health systems in order to progress toward universal health coverage (UHC). WHO’s new strategy is built on a number of major shifts, one of which is the fact that the programme is aligned with the SDGs, measuring the outcomes and impact of its contribution. According to the programme, WHO will also focus on the strategic priorities of universal health coverage and health emergencies, and establish “flagships” to address key issues such as antimicrobial resistance, and noncommunicable diseases. WHO, the document says, will step up its global leadership, and drive impact in every country, by becoming more operational in delivering services in a limited number of fragile states, providing technical assistance, and strategic support. It will also strengthen its normative work, and its approach to resource mobilization. “The health of the world’s people cannot wait,” and WHO will act with a sense of urgency, fast-tracking GPW 13, says the document. UHC Must Include Access to Medicines, Fair Pricing GPW 13 highlights the need for people to access affordable and quality assured medicines, vaccines, and health products to reach universal health coverage. “In many contexts, the cost of medicines causes the majority of financial hardship,” it says, adding, “WHO will help to mobilize political will to ensure the establishment of policies that promote access to health products, including policies on the following: access to generic medicines and innovation; quality assurance of products through effective regulation; domestic investment in coverage schemes that reduces out of pocket payments; fair pricing; procurement through the supply system, and corruption-free procurement.” “The Organization will continue to support the availability of quality-assured generic products or procurement by global agencies and countries through the WHO prequalification programme, which will evolve to meet the changing health needs of countries,” it says. WHO will also strengthen coordination for research and development efforts based on health needs in order to increase access to medicines and health products, and the WHO “will work in support of greater consensus among Member States on establishing effective policies on access to medicines, vaccines and health products that support countries in achieving the targets of the health SDGs.” In the coming five years, the draft GPW 13 sets out three strategic priorities: one billion more people with health coverage, one billion more people made safer (health emergencies), and one billion lives improved (health priorities). On HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis, neglected tropical diseases, antimicrobial resistance, and polio, the GPW 13 foresees one million fewer new HIV infections per year, 50 percent fewer deaths from tuberculosis and malaria, prevention of half a million deaths per year from hepatitis B and C, the elimination of one neglected tropical disease in 35 countries, the eradication of polio, and an increase coverage of treatment for multidrug resistant tuberculosis to 80 percent of estimated incidence. Leadership, Normative Work, Innovation GPW 13 anticipates for the WHO to step up its global leadership, advocating for health “at the highest political level.” WHO will create “fewer and better normative products that are more focused on country needs,” it says. On innovation, GPW13 says a key innovation challenge is in scaling and doing so sustainably: “WHO’s most effective role, acting in its area of comparative advantage, is to address innovation barriers as facilitator: a ‘champion of champions’ of innovation.” The WHO will cooperate with initiatives such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the G20 Global Collaboration Hug on research and development on antimicrobial resistance, the GPW13 says. “WHO can take a unique role in catalysing the scaling and sustainability of effective, health innovations,” which will require “constructive engagement with the private sector, since government and private sector, often together, are the principal actors that scale innovation.” Financing, Less Earmarking When member states approve WHO’s programme and budget, the GPW 13 says, “they are also committing to fully finance it, although in practice, this does not occur.” “Member States should work with the Secretariat to raise the necessary funds for the Organization to deliver the General Programme of Work which they have approved,” it says. “Earmarking will need to decrease to give WHO the needed flexibility to deliver on GPW 13.” Private Sector, Civil Society Needed WHO cannot accomplish the ambitious targets of GPW 13 without partners from all sectors, including civil society and the private sector, the document says. The organisation can also serve as a catalyst for partnerships between non-state actors (private sector, civil society, academia, philanthropic organisations), it adds. The WHO will thus “need to ensure that the Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors is implemented in such a way as to enable partnerships, while protecting the integrity of the Organization. Partnerships will also require humility on the part of the WHO.” Image Credits: WHO Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."New WHO 5-Year Programme Is Out. In The Recipe? SDGs, Access To Medicines, Innovation, Better Health For All" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.