The Union has been formally granted the role of a non‑State actor in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Official relations” is a privilege that the WHO’s Executive Board grants to nongovernmental organisations that contribute significantly to the advancement of public health, and have a sustained and systematic engagement in the interest of the WHO, and have aims and activities which conform with the spirit, purposes and principles of WHO’s Constitution.
This privilege includes:
- A special agreed collaborative arrangement of three‑years with WHO, supporting WHO’s work;
- An invitation to participate in sessions of WHO’s governing bodies, including the possibility to submit a statement in advance of debates.
- The opportunity to organise side events during the annual World Health Assembly.
As part of this relationship, The Union has carried out the following work:
The Union coordinated briefings for United Nations Missions on tuberculosis (TB), to ensure world leaders are making the necessary commitments to TB and TB research and innovation, and then keeping to those commitments.
Statements at WHO governing body meetings
73rd World Health Assembly (2020)
- The Union has submitted a statement urging Member States to prioritise TB care and treatment during COVID-19 to prevent catastrophic loss of life.
72nd World Health Assembly (2019)
- Union intervention on antimicrobial resistance
- Union intervention on Universal Health Coverage
- Union intervention urging Member States to fulfill their commitments was made at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB
- Union intervention on access to medicine and vaccine
71st World Health Assembly (2018)
- Union intervention on medicine and vaccine shortage
- Statement calling for air pollution to be addressed
- Statement on the preparation for the United Nations High-Level meeting on Tuberculosis
70th World Health Assembly (2017)
- Union intervention supporting strengthening synergy between the WHA and COP
- Union intervention calls on Member States to include TB as part of the response to antimicrobial resistance
- Union intervention on health of refugees and migrants
- Union intervention on TB urges rapid adoption of WHO guidance to accelerate delivery of new tools
- Union intervention on R&D investment
Side events during the World Health Assembly
The Union launched the world’s first Global Charter for Lung Health at a side event at the World Health Assembly in 2017, attended by Uruguay’s Public Health Minister.
The Union hosted a World Health Assembly side meeting in 2017 on Ending TB in the Sustainable Development Agenda, bringing together experts to discuss the urgent need for TB investment.
The Union hosted a side event of the World Health Assembly in 2018 where it launched a report, Silent Epidemic: A Call to Action Against Child Tuberculosis, calling for urgent action to protect children from TB.
Collaborative work with WHO
The Union supported the WHO, along with the World Organisation for Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to develop the first-ever Roadmap for Zoonotic TB in 2017 to address the major health and economic impact of this disease.
The Union worked closely with WHO to release a training toolkit to combat childhood TB in 2014. The training focuses on building the capacity of health care workers at the primary and secondary level to address and manage TB in children.
The Union supported WHO to develop this practical guide in 2013 for laboratory technicians on smear microscopy for the laboratory diagnosis of TB and for monitoring the patients' response to treatment.