NZ represented at World Health Assembly meeting

Media release

25 May 2016
Erina O'Donohue, Senior Media Advisor, 021 428 067

New Zealand is among 194 member states taking part in the 69th Annual World Health Assembly, tackling a diverse range of issues including tobacco control and pandemic influenza preparedness.

The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the supreme decision-making body for the World Health Organization. Its annual meeting began on 23 May in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Ministry of Health’s newly appointed Director Protection, Regulation and Assurance Dr Stewart Jessamine, is one of the New Zealand delegates.

“One of the pieces of work of particular interest to New Zealand is a new approach to emergency management being undertaken by the WHO.

“The WHO’s response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa was criticised for taking too long to be activated and lacking coordination.

“An evaluation of that response has led to a commitment by the WHO to urgently reform its emergency work, including establishing a single programme with one set of rules and processes.

“This is very much in line with the model which has been used successfully by New Zealand in response to emergencies such as the flu pandemic of 2009, the Christchurch earthquakes and most recently assisting Fiji in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston.

“New Zealand is seen by fellow members of the WHA as a leader in areas of governance reform and emergency management reform. It has a reputation of being a small country with big ideas - pragmatic and honest.

“The New Zealand delegation is looking forward to continuing to make a positive contribution at this year’s meeting of the WHA.”

Some 3500 delegates from WHO’s 194 Member States are attending the Health Assembly, which ends on 28 May.

Details are available on the WHO website

Please note that due to their commitments at the Health Assembly, the New Zealand delegates are not currently available for interview.

Back to top