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30 May 2024

30th May 2024

          Minister for Health, Mr Ong Ye Kung, led the Singapore delegation to the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland from 26 to 29 May 2024. In his Plenary Address, he called for the global community to come together to coordinate our actions and responses to address global health challenges. 

2.        Over the last two years, the World Health Organization (WHO) Member States had been engaged in negotiations on a Pandemic Agreement, to better prepare for the next pandemic. Unfortunately, negotiations for the Pandemic Agreement were challenging, and could not be concluded. 

3.        Noting this, Mr Ong urged that nonetheless, it is critical for countries to continue to work together to tackle global health challenges and respond to health emergencies that threaten us all. This includes having like-minded countries work together to strengthen surveillance against high-risk pathogens, fulfil the 100-day mission to develop vaccines against future pandemics, and expand production capacity for vaccines and therapeutics.

4.        At the same time, Singapore remains supportive of concluding the negotiations to amend the International Health Regulations (IHR) during the 77th World Health Assembly. The IHR is a legally binding framework to guide WHO member states to work together to tackle health emergencies. It is expected to conclude by 1 June 2024. 

5.        Mr Ong delivered keynote addresses at the McKinsey Health Institute on “Advancing health in cities: Insights and tools to help cities and communities thrive”; and “Health in All Policies: Uniting for Healthier Futures and Well-being for All” event organised by the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

6.        He also participated in panel discussions at the Strategic Roundtable organised by the WHO on “All for Health, Health for All: the WHO Investment Case, 2025 to 2028”; and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Traders event on “A pathway to 2030: Strengthening partnerships for global health progress”. 

7.        Mr Ong also met his foreign counterparts, including Australia’s Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mr Mark Butler; Cuba’s Minister of Public Health, Dr José Angel Portal Miranda; Kiribati’s Minister of Health and Medical Services, Dr Tinte Itinteang; Lithuania’s Minister for Health, Mr Arunas Dulkys; Malaysia’s Minister of Health, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad; the Netherlands’ Minister for Medical Care, Ms Pia Dijkstra; Saudi Arabia’s Minister for Health, H.E. Eng. Fahad Al-Jalajel; and Colombia’s Vice Minister for Health, Mr Jaime Urrego.

30 MAY 2024