70th Session of the World Health Assembly

The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the highest decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). It is attended by delegations from all 194 WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget. The 70th World Health Assembly is being held in Geneva, Switzerland from 22 – 31 May 2017.

The Executive Board to the WHA is composed of 34 technically qualified members elected for three-year terms. The main functions of the Board are to implement the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly, and advise and generally facilitate its work. Bhutan currently holds three year membership (2017 to 2019) of the WHO Executive Board and the Programme, Budget and Administration Committee.

(from left to right: Dr Poonam K. Singh, Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia Region; H.E. Mr Tandin Wangchuk, Minister of Health, Bhutan; H.E. Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicines, Sri Lanka; H.E. Mr Jagat P. Nadda, H.E. Minister of Health and Family Welfare, India; H.E. Mr Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, Minister of Health, Maldives; H.E. Mr Kang Ha Guk, Minister of Public Health, DPR Korea; H.E. Dr Ana Isabel de Fatima Sousa Soares, Minister of Health, Timor-Leste)

Bhutan delegation is led by H.E. Mr Tandin Wangchuk, Minister of Health and participated by permanent mission members of Bhutan in Geneva; Dr Gosar Pemba, Medical Superintendent, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital; Dr Karma Lhazeen, Director, Department of Public Health; Mr Jayendra Sharma, Planning and Policy Division; Mr Namgay Dawa, Dzongkhag (District) Health Officer, Wangduephodrang.

The seventieth session will elect a new Director General for the Organization. This WHA would also deliberate on a number of technical and governance issues including noncommunicable diseases, communicable diseases, health emergencies, health systems and Sustainable Developmental Goals, which are crucial to health sector in Bhutan.

H.E. Mr Tandin Wangchuk will deliver a statement at the plenary session and co-sponsor a number of side-events on tobacco control, malaria elimination, noncommunicable diseases and Sustainable Developmental Goals.

It is an opportune moment in the history of WHO where Bhutan as an Executive Board member could contribute to and move significant agenda towards better Global and Regional Public Health.

For more information, please visit http://www.searo.who.int/bhutan