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WHO Watch preparatory workshop

17 January 2018
The preparatory workshop for the January 2018 WHO Watch commenced on Tuesday 16 January, at the PSI Head Office in Geneva. Fourteen young health activists and academics from across the world are participating in the 4-day workshop, which will equip them to observe and make interventions at the 142nd session of the World Health Organization Executive Board on 22-27 January.

WHO Watch is a civil society project directed to the democratisation of global health governance and coordinated through the People’s Health Movement (PHM) and Medicus Mundi International (MMI). It is also aimed at arming young health activists with the knowledge and competences needed to adequately understand and intervene in the mechanisms and processes of international health. That is why the “Watchers”, who are all volunteers, are mainly young women and men.

The WHO Watch is held twice a year during the WHO Executive Board (WHO EB) sessions in January, and the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May. A preparatory workshop is always held for the Watchers in the week preceding each of these meetings of the governance structures of the World Health Organization.

They analyse every major item on the agenda of the WHO meetings and come up with statements which are presented as critical interventions of the civil society movement to the WHO decision-making bodies. They equally monitor, document and analyse the outcomes of the WHO EB, and the WHA, and carry out advocacy, reaching out to representatives of WHO member-States with perspectives anchored on the principle of health as a fundamental human right.

As a resource for advocacy and mobilisation and an intervention in global health governance, WHO Watch provides a current account of global policy dynamics in relation to a wide and growing range of health issues. While the focus is on issues being considered through the WHO the background documentation provides a more broadly-based account of these issues.

Public Services International is committed to the unity and synergy of all forces and efforts aimed at achieving public health for all. This entails forging alliances and building coalitions with civil society organisations which share this value of people over profit.

PSI has thus strengthened collaboration with the People’s Health Movement, including participation of young workers from PSI affiliates in the WHO Watch. Lena Vennberg from Vårdförbundet, Sweden was the first person from a PSI affiliate to participate in a WHO Watch, last May. Olanrewaju Sherif Adewale from the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) is one of the current Watchers.

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