Health minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng has rallied the World Health Organisation (WHO) member states to support and adopt the resolution on medical oxygen accessibility.

This year, the WHO executive board recommended to the World Health Assembly the adoption of the resolution on increasing access to medical oxygen, a draft decision that was submitted by Uganda and co-sponsored by the Central African Republic, Kenya, Turkey, Australia, Bangladesh, the European Union (EU) and its 27 member states.

This resolution underscores the critical role of prioritising constant availability of medical oxygen for resilient health systems and the achievement of health Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking at the 76th session of the World Health Assembly being held in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr. Aceng noted that amid turbulent times characterized by pandemics, epidemics, conflict, economic stagnation, and disruption of global supply chains there is a need for equity in resource sharing and global synergies for human survival.

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She added that the world watched on in dismay as oxygen shortages across the globe claimed lives during the height of the Covid pandemic and that it is about time policies are adopted on the same.

“We watched with dismay the avoidable mortality caused by shortage of oxygen across the world during the pandemic. This prompted Uganda, together with several member states, to champion and sponsor a resolution on medical oxygen. I urge member states to support and adopt this resolution during this Assembly,” she noted.

Dr. Aceng also used the same platform to call for collaborative efforts leading to self-reliance through technology transfer for the manufacture of vaccines, diagnostics, and other pharmaceuticals which she said should be prioritized by all WHO member states to strengthen health security.

“We live in a single global health eco-system where challenges affecting weak health systems can easily spiral and affect the so-called strong health systems of the developed nations. The West African Ebola epidemic and the recent COVID-19 pandemic are good examples,’’ said Dr. Aceng.

The 76th World Health Assembly being held in Geneva, Switzerland, runs till May 30, 2023, under the theme “WHO at 75: Saving lives, driving health for all”.


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