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NUNW calls for ratification of World Health Pandemic agreement and International Health Regulations amendments

NUNW calls for ratification of World Health Pandemic agreement and International Health Regulations amendments

By Clifton Movirongo.

The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) has implored the President, the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) and the entire government to ensure that any new World Health Pandemic Agreement (WHPA) and/or International Health Regulations must be submitted to the National Assembly and National Council for ratification.

The Secretary General of the NUNW, Job Muniaro in a statement this week said this, adding that “the International Health Regulation amendments and the Pandemic Preparedness Treaty seek to diminish our sovereignty and democratic rights.”

“The sovereignty of Namibia is not negotiable,” Muniaro charged.

The proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations were recently discussed at the World Health Assembly 75 during the week of 23 to 27 May 2022.

These International Health Regulations defines and details World Health Organization members’ obligations on public health emergencies and other health matters.

He also indicated that the amendments which were adopted give the World Health Organization’s Director General unilateral powers to declare actual or potential health emergencies which are binding on all Member States and to expect a response from such Member States within 48 hours failing which punitive measures will be introduced against the such Member States.

In conjunction with such amendments, a World Health Organization Pandemic Preparedness Treaty is being negotiated by the Member States of the World Health Organisation. This treaty and the amendments to the International Health Regulations will enable the World Health Organisation to declare a global emergency binding on all Member States and to impose its recommendations on the such Member States.

According to the Zero draft report of the Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies (WGPR), member States requested the Bureau to develop a proposed way forward on amending the IHR, especially for a clear plan with a comprehensive, inclusive approach with defined timelines. The discussion covered possible options to consider, including the establishment of an IHR review.

“On IHR amendments, Member States reiterated the need for it to be limited and targeted. Some Member States showed interest to reach an agreement on some amendments where there was convergence. However, Member States reiterated that amendments should be done in a considered manner without conflicting other IHR articles; respectful of national sovereignty; and complementarity between the IHR and the new instrument,” the draft indicated.


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