Minister of Health Dr. Fahrettin Koca addressed participants at the 74th World Health Assembly (WHA), the highest decision-making organ of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Delivering a speech at the virtual assembly, Koca recalled that the WHA gathered this year under the theme of "building a healthier, safer, and fairer world."
Minister Koca stressed that COVID-19 had affected all countries and industries directly or indirectly.
Noting that health security and sustaining livelihoods were the two different sides of the same coin, Koca continued,“This situation imposes historical responsibilities on health policy makers in terms of their decisions and practices, not only in terms of human health, but also in terms of all factors affecting human life. These developments provide us with historical opportunities to effectively implement a whole-of- government approach and one health practices in health policies that we have talked about for many years as a health community.”
“We have supported 158 countries”
"It is obvious that the world failed in international solidarity", said Koca, noting that Turkey had been a pioneer of international solidarity by supporting 158 countries and 14 international organizations.
Emphasis on “intellectual property rights” in vaccines
Koca said that great attention was paid to speed up activities under 2021 Year of Health and Care Workers.
Stressing the importance of vaccinating healthcare workers, Koca continued,"Vaccinating healthcare workers ensures the continuity of health systems. As the first stage of our successful COVID-19 vaccination program, we vaccinated over 1 million healthcare workers in 45 days. But it is not enough that only healthcare workers are vaccinated. I believe that the families of healthcare workers who face the same threat should also be prioritized, and I call on the world to do so. With this understanding, I would like to share with you that we have started vaccinating the families of healthcare workers in Turkey.”
Koca, who warned the WHO member countries that the world would witness health threats in the future and said: “As we have said from the beginning, the solution depends on global thinking and successful practices at the local level. However, we must not forget that the ultimate success depends on the international compliance of local efforts."
The 74th World Health Assembly is set to end on June 1.