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Public health emergency: the need for a holistic approach to multilateralism and health care

Selin Sayek Böke
©Council of Europe

According to the resolution adopted today by PACE, based on the report by Selin Sayek Böke (Türkiye, SOC), States must urgently “learn the lessons from previous health emergencies by strengthening the global health architecture and developing necessary strategies at national levels”, in order to react swiftly to emerging global health risks.

In this respect, the parliamentarians stressed that “a holistic multilateral effort is needed, bringing together the WHO, the WTO and others in a multi-stakeholder dialogue” to revisit the rules governing the health-care industry and the provision of essential medicines, vaccines and health-care services at national and international levels, “including a diversification of medical supply sources”.

The adopted text underlines that the ongoing processes taking place to transform global health governance must build on the principle of equity and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms during public health emergencies.

Finally, at national level, the resolution calls on member States to “build stronger and more resilient health systems”, in particular by investing in primary health care, providing universal health coverage to everyone within their territory, and identifying vulnerabilities in medical supply chains.