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Speech by Lena Hallengren at the Seventy-fourth World Health Assembly
Speech by the Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren at the Seventy-fourth World Health Assembly on 24 May - 1 June 2021. Check against delivery.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, dear Dr. Tedros.
I would like to thank the DG for his report and to align our statement with the statement made on behalf of the European Union.
It has been an overwhelming year for all of us. The pandemic has hit hard all over the world. So many lives have been lost, our health workforce has been stretched to the limit and health systems have been challenged like never before. Economies worldwide have been severely affected, and poverty and lack of access to education has become an even bigger problem than it was before.
Adding to that, there have been rapid increases in risk of violence and reduced access to care, including sexual and reproductive health and rights. This means that we are falling short of our goal to secure universal health coverage and ensuring health and well-being for all. In fact, the world is now at risk of seeing entire generations falling behind – this is something that we must avoid at all costs.
We must act now to end this pandemic and we must commit to taking decisive steps to prevent another global health crisis. It is paramount that we act on the recommendations from the Independent Panel, the IHR Review Committee and the oversight body of the Health Emergencies Programme. Now, more than ever, we need a strong World Health Organization to coordinate the global health response and to create a fit-for-purpose preparedness system. No one is safe until we are all safe.
Sweden stands prepared to do our part. We commit to un-earmarked financing of WHO, ensuring a strong preparedness system and providing robust data for surveillance. We hold ourselves accountable to the International Health Regulations. We commit to global vaccine solidarity and support to the Covax Facility, of which we are proud to be the world’s largest donor in per capita terms. We commit to supporting the Health Emergencies Programme, and we commit to ensure that the WHO is equipped to perform its important work – wherever it is needed.
We must all do what we can to create stronger national and global systems for surveillance, preparedness and response. We need to invest in our own health systems to equip them better for the future. Viruses see no borders. In this pandemic, and in the next one, we must all act to ensure that lives are protected .
The term “health in all policies” is key, and the role of public health and health systems preparedness cannot be overestimated. I look forward to taking great strides forward with all of you in the years to come. Together, we can create a better future for everyone.