Julia Dias (CCS)
The president of Fiocruz, Nísia Trindade Lima, was one of the Brazilian representatives at the 72nd World Health Assembly (AMS). The event took place from May 20 to 27, in Geneva, and brought together world leaders, such as Ministers of Health of the 194 member-states of the World Health Organization (WHO) and representatives of the most important institutions in Global Health.
The Assembly is WHO’s decision-making body and this year it discussed themes such as health emergencies and International Health Surveillance Regulation (IHR); polio and smallpox; the 2030 Agenda; climate change, access to medicines, human resources, migration, Universal Health Coverage and administrative matters of the Organization.
The agenda of the president of Fiocruz included an event held by Unitaid on how to reduce HIV deaths by half, the launching of WHO and Wellcome strategy for snakebites and a parallel event called Chagas Disease - Ending the Silence, organized by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi). Lima also participated in a table about Getting There Faster- How We Can Use Research, Development, Innovation and Access to Accelerate Progress in Sustainable Development Goal 3, organized by WHO and Wellcome, and a technical session about Promoting sustainable quality local production in improving access towards UHC.
The Assembly as also an opportunity to hold some meetings. Nisia Trindade Lima, along with the Ministry of Health of Brazil, has attended a meeting with the Ministers of Health of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, or CPLP), and bilateral discussions with the WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the CDC Africa director, John Nkengasong, the Head of Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), Vera Costa e Silva and representatives of USA, China and East Timor commissions.
During the Assembly, the World Chagas Disease Day as established to be celebrated each year on 14 April. Chagas, a neglected tropical disease, currently affects between 6 and 7 million people, mostly in Latin America. Fiocruz has played a major role in the discovery of the disease and the fight for the establishment of a World Day.
“In this House we have a mission of the greatest importance: to break the silence on Chagas disease. It is no longer a matter of celebrating the great accomplishment of the scientist Carlos Chagas, an unquestionable mark of science aimed at solving great challenges of Health. It is a question of breaking the silence on patients and making a commitment in prevention and treatment. Carlos Chagas called the disease that takes his name of disease of Brazil, a country that forgot its backlands. Today more than a neglected disease it shows us the problem of neglected populations”, stated Lima during the session that appreciated the theme.