Health Minister, Andrew Little will represent New Zealand at the first in-person World Health Assembly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from Sunday 22 – Wednesday 25 May (NZ time).
“COVID-19 has affected people all around the world, and health continues to top the global agenda. The pandemic has shown that good health is essential for the economic prosperity and social wellbeing of everyone,” Minister Little said today.
The World Health Assembly is the key decision-making body of the World Health Organisation, of which New Zealand is a founding member. The assembly brings together Ministers of Health from 194 countries to discuss key global health and governance issues.
This year marks the 75th World Health Assembly, and will be based around the theme of “Health for peace, peace for health”. Mr Little will deliver New Zealand’s country statement, which focuses on health equity and the Government’s health reform programme.
The Health Minister will also hold bilateral meetings with counterparts from other countries, and meet with United Nations health leaders, to discuss health issues ranging from mental health, cancer, infection prevention and control, and efforts to strengthen the international system for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.
“New Zealand has always stood up to be a good global partner for health. Throughout COVID-19 we’ve actively shared what we have learned, our successes and challenges, so that together we can get through the pandemic faster. The World Health Assembly is an important forum for New Zealand to be at,” the Minister said.
He will also make a brief visit to the United Kingdom to look at how locality networks – a key part of New Zealand’s health reforms – are working in the Midlands town of Dudley.
“Dudley has a long history of implementing the type of community-based integrated care we are moving towards in New Zealand.”
“This visit is a valuable chance to meet with health providers working in locality networks and to hear from people who are using those services,” he said.