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Hawari spotlights health crises in Arab region in Geneva

By JT - May 29,2024 - Last updated at May 29,2024

AMMAN — Health Minister Firas Hawari delivered a unified speech on behalf of the Council of Arab Ministers of Health at the World Health Organisation's (WHO) 77th World Health Assembly, which commenced on Monday in Geneva.

The Ministry said that the Kingdom was selected to chair Committee B, one of two committees addressing the assembly’s topics, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The committee, chaired by Hawari, will discuss health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Golan Heights, along with other financial and administrative matters and reports issued by the WHO director general.  

Hawari expressed appreciation to WHO, its director general, and the executive board for coordinating and leading international health initiatives to achieve sustainable development goals. 

Hawari also highlighted the crises affecting the Arab region, beginning with the aggression against the Gaza Strip, which he said is "a genocidal act against defenceless civilians, including children, women, and the elderly".

The council condemned these actions, which have violated international norms and laws, affecting humanitarian workers and depriving people of their right to life and health.

The council commended efforts to end the war on Gaza, facilitate humanitarian aid, and protect health workers, aligning with the Health and Peace Initiative.

It also welcomed the WHO Executive Board's decisions from its seventh special session in December 2023, which addressed health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and supported Palestine's bid for full UN membership.

Hawari also addressed health challenges in other Arab countries. It highlighted the dire situation in Sudan, where millions have been displaced, exacerbating the spread of epidemics and child malnutrition, stressing the need for concerted efforts in Yemen to provide health services and prevent epidemic outbreaks in conflict areas.

Hawari also referred to the discriminatory policies in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, which violate international principles and laws, impeding the right to health. 

He also called for increased support from organisations to help neighbouring countries manage the health and humanitarian burdens of migrant and refugee influxes.

Hawari also highlighted the need to focus on non-communicable diseases, reproductive health, and the computerisation of health services.

The Arab health ministers expressed hope that the 77th session would have a lasting impact on enhancing health systems and affirming the right to health for all, particularly in occupied Palestine and Gaza.

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