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Intervention by Estonia at the WHO EBSS 4 on the Draft 13th General Programme of Work under agenda item 3.3


WHO EBSS 4 on the draft 13th General Programme of Work

Intervention by ESTONIA


Agenda item 3.3: Strategic Shifts

Geneva, 23 November 2017


Honorable chairperson,

Estonia would like to welcome the Strategic Shifts proposed, and in particular, the focus on global public goods. We agree on the division of these public goods into normative guidance, data and innovation. In this regard, we appreciate the Director-General’s reassurances that WHO shall remain primarily a normative and standard-setting organization.

Broadly, we also agree on WHO’s proposed activities on data, which is, after all, the cornerstone of maximizing impact and evidence based policy making. Respectfully, however, we have slightly disparate views on who has the comparative advantage when it comes to strengthening data systems.

We believe that WHO has an important role to play in this regard, but in so doing, it would benefit immensely from the expertise and work of others. Several Member States as well as other organizations have extensive experience from modernizing their data systems, and it would be a missed opportunity if WHO were not to learn from their example and use the work already done. This need to use existing data and work more closely with others is something that we would like to see better articulated in this section of the General Programme of Work.

People around the world have adopted digital technologies; governments as well as international organizations have to keep up or risk becoming irrelevant. E-health in particular provides unique benefits for both collecting and analyzing data as well as improving health system efficacy and patient involvement. In its work on improving data gathering, WHO should collaborate with and learn from experts in e-Health, especially with regard to what works and what does not. A lot of the potential provided by e-health comes from setting common standards in a manner, which promotes interoperability. This is where WHO’s comparative advantage is greatest.

Finally, we commend the focus on innovation, being particularly mindful of the challenges Member States face regarding medicines and access to them. We welcome further cooperation with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the G20 Global Collaboration Fund, but would like to see a clearer reference to the recommendations of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research & Development, which to this day has not been fully acted upon. A clear strategic approach to health innovation is needed so that affordable new medicines including vaccines, antibiotics, and drugs for neglected diseases may be developed.

Thank you.


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