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WHO Health Assembly discusses health and sustainable development

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
23.5.2016 8.30
Press release 72/2016

The sixty-ninth session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) will take place in Geneva on 23–28 May 2016. Finland's representative at the assembly will be Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Juha Rehula.

The theme of the general session will be "Health in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development". One of the central goals of sustainable development is to provide all people in all parts of the world the health services they need without a financial risk for the client.  

Finland will propose that the assembly adopt a resolution that emphasises the importance of strengthening measures related to public health when the aim is comprehensive health services to all. Important actions include developing health systems, intersectoral collaboration in health promotion and, for example, global response to reducing health hazards caused by the environment and measures such as vaccinations at individual levels.    Equitable opportunities to lead a healthy life cannot be attained in practice without public health work.

Minister Rehula will address the general session. Minister Rehula will hold bilateral discussions during the event with, among others, ministers from Sweden, Iran, Ethiopia, Pakistan and Singapore.

On the sidelines of the Geneva assembly, Finland will organise an event on childhood obesity and malnutrition.  

"The promotion of children's nutrition and health is not only a cost but an investment in a sustainable future," Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Rehula says.

Childhood obesity is a growing world-wide problem. According to WHO statistics from 2013, about 42 million infants and young children were overweight or obese. If current trends continue, 70 million children under school-age will be overweight or obese by 2025.  

In Finland, the maternity and child health clinic system and well-organised meals at day care centres and schools help children in maintaining a healthy weight. Other countries have expressed interest in these practices.

The assembly will also deal with several other issues, relating to WHO governance, communicable and non-communicable diseases and health security.

The annual World Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body of WHO, which determines the health policy guidelines of the organisation.


Satu Leino, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 2951 63428