Canada to chair Commonwealth Health Ministers’ meeting; to be at World Health Assembly

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Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, will be in Geneva, Switzerland, next week to chair the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting (CHMM) and lead Canada’s delegation to the 69th World Health Assembly (WHA). These meetings are billed as opportunities for Canada to work with international partners to explore how to best address increasingly complex global health challenges.

The CHMM, to be held on May 22, will focus on two significant issues at the heart of global health challenges: universal health coverage — to improve access to and quality of health care globally — and health security — the capacity of all countries to preserve and protect the health of the population. At the WHA, Minister Philpott will deliver Canada’s statement, in which she will highlight some of Canada’s key priorities in global health.

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Philpott said: “I am honoured to chair this year’s Commonwealth Health Ministers’ Meeting. This is a valuable forum in which to work with like-minded countries to explore how we can best address increasingly complex global health challenges. This year we will focus on two significant issues at the heart of global health challenges — universal health coverage and health security. I look forward to helping to advance these important topics, and our shared objective of protecting the health of our citizens, with our Commonwealth partners.”

Canada’s delegation to the WHA will include the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie; Parliamentary Secretary Karina Gould, Global Affairs Canada; Dr. Gregory Taylor, Chief Public Health Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada; Paul Glover, Associate Deputy Minister, Health Canada; Dr. Horacio Arruda, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Health and Social Services, Quebec; Karima Velji, President, Canadian Nurses Association; and Ramya Kancherla, a medical student from McMaster University.

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Karima Velji said that “The World Health Assembly offers a timely and important opportunity to discuss the critical shortages of skilled health professionals expected globally in the years ahead. The demographic changes happening in Canada and throughout the world mean innovative care delivery models are needed to reorient care from hospitals to community and home-based models. The WHA discussions will highlight the need to promote multidisciplinary teams, emphasizing issues of credentialing, training and retaining workers within the global health care sector. Canada’s leadership is essential to inform discussion to ensure resources are used efficiently, protecting the long term sustainability of the universal health care system that makes Canadians proud, and promoting our strengths on the global stage.”

Canada has been actively involved in a number of resolutions that will be brought forward at the WHA, including leading a resolution to strengthen the role of the health sector in the sound management of chemicals. Other key resolutions address preventing violence against women and children, supporting ageing and health, improving women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health, and meeting the health-related goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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