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With Diverging Priorities, What Will Be The WHA's Next Step?


Health

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Cao Dingyu

08 June 2022


Yesterday’s council session was messy and inefficient, said the South African delegate.


Delegates have been disillusioned by the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of yesterday’s discussion. No agenda was passed, no specific plans were initiated and agreed upon, and the debate was circular.


To bring the discussion back on track, the South African delegate first brought the idea of establishing a global fund bank into focus, which serves to provide funds for Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs) to improve their healthcare system.


During the press conference, the journalist in Channel News Asia (CNA) questioned the South African delegate on of his plan on incentivizing countries to set up a global fund bank.


As one of the less economically developed countries, South Africa voiced out that they have to rely on financial assistance from more economically developed countries (MEDCs). He galvanized the MEDCs to divert their funds from untargeted initiatives, so as to focus on the true policy target.


Issues regarding the involvement of different stakeholders were also brought out.


The Japanese delegate first drew attention to the essence of including all stakeholders. However, as the journalist requested him to offer any practical suggestions on domestic government policies, he gave an overly optimistic and idealistic answer.


However, when questioned on any practical ways to go about it, Japan was idealistic in response.


He suggested all countries adopt Japan’s current insurance system, which he believed is was effective in making healthcare accessible for all .


It is evident that this plan would not be a one -fit- for all solution , especially given the reality that there are thousands of people who still have completely no access to basic health care.


The significance of local government intervention was also emphasized by the Japanese delegate. However, the USA delegate stated an opposite viewpoint during an unmoderated caucus.


He doubted the efficiency of local government in distributing healthcare resources, and he also went on to criticize the corruption within the authority that may hinder the smooth implementation of the plan.


It is not hard to deduce why the USA has such a strong sentiment toward governmental corruption.


“A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that $98 billion was lost to fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid in 2011 alone.”


Unfortunately, this view was not accepted by other delegates, as they criticized the USA for being overly cynical and should never make blunt accusations about other countries’ governments.


Need to discuss more on global disease report system

The delegates have also unanimously acknowledged the significance of implementing a global disease report system.


One of those countries, China, shared her own success The Chinese delegate shared her success with its domestic disease report system, known as the National Disease Reporting System (NDRS), which she claimed to be “highly efficient and reliable” for immediate case reporting and recording.


According to the report related to NDRS, “At the end of 2006, the Chinese CDC recorded 50,000 direct report entry points across China, including 94.9% of medical institutions at the national level and above, 80% at the provincial level, and 70.3% of township hospitals and clinics.”


Upon answering the journalist’s question regarding the implementation of the Chinese Disease Reporting System in a global context, the delegate asserts that the LEDCs could maximize the utility of their resources, together with the support from MEDCs, in integrating this reporting system according to their situation.


“This system is very flexible", claimed the delegate.


The council seemed to steer towards unity as a majority eventually agreed that they should put more focus on enhancing the existing infrastructure, to make the healthcare system more accessible to all. Nevertheless, they had not yet initiated any plausible plan by the end of Committee Session 1 on Day 2.



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