The 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) organized annually by the World Health Organization (WHO), starts today at Geneva, Switzerland. The Assembly will be held from 22nd to 31st May, where major decisions will be taken to improve global efforts for health.

Minister of Health, Abdullah Nazim Ibrahim heads the high-level delegation from the Maldives. The Maldives delegation consists of high-level representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The new Director General of WHO will be elected this year. The voting between the member states is to be carried out on the 23rd of May. The new DG will serve a 5-year term, and will officially take office on July 1, 2017.

Minister Abdullah Nazim, will deliver his statement, “Advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Building Better Systems for Health” at the assembly on the 22nd May.

This year, focus will be on defining global priorities for communicable and non-communicable diseases, strengthening health systems, human health in emergencies, maternal and child health, budget planning and administration of the WHO.

Aside from the main agenda, the assembly offers a platform for delegate meetings between member states, global health NGOs and international donor agencies. The Maldives delegation will meet with the delegations from Cypress, Malaysia, China and Saudi Arabia, in addition to other international organizations, such as International Organization for Migration.