Find out how boosting vaccination coverage and immunisation’s wider role in global health features on this year’s World Health Assembly agenda (19-26 May)

WHA 2018

Credit: WHO/Jess Hoffman.

Geneva, 19 May 2018 - As the public health intervention that reaches the largest number of people worldwide, immunisation is always a critical part of the WHA’s agenda - and the 71st gathering is no exception.

Decisions and discussions are scheduled on cervical cancer, polio, cholera, global health security, a new framework for nurturing care, immunisation in Africa, and antimicrobial resistance. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and universal health coverage (UHC) are also defining themes of the WHO’s next 5-year plan, which the Assembly is expected to adopt.

Amid a packed agenda, here is a quick guide to some of the key moments for immunisation at the 2018 WHA.


Saturday 19 May

Cervical cancer: a non-communicable disease we can overcome 

A roundtable discussion on cervical cancer, the leading cause of cancer death among women in Gavi supported-countries. Immunisation coupled with screening and treatment is the best strategy to reduce the burden of cervical cancer. The high cost of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and challenges of reaching adolescent girls to deliver immunisation have been barriers to introduction in poorer countries.

Gavi is working to bridge the equity gap by providing the HPV vaccine at affordable and sustainable prices, and to support countries with demonstration programmes to build capacity and test different approaches to deliver the vaccine to adolescent girls.

Monday 21 May

Global health security community meeting 

The global health security project aims to mitigate the risks associated with emerging infectious diseases of pandemic potential.

Primary health care and UHC 

Examining the evidence, contributions and effectiveness of community health workers.

Tuesday 22 May

Taking civil society engagement to new heights to advance WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work and achieve the Triple Billion targets  

100 years after the pandemic: preparedness to protect health for all 

The Spanish flu pandemic brought new urgency to the quest to comprehend infectious diseases and how they work. A century later, the global health community still faces a daunting task as it struggles to prevent infectious diseases from sparking deadly epidemics.

Wednesday 23 May

Official launch of the WHO immunisation business case for the African continent 

Despite a tremendous increase in access to immunisation on the African continent in the past 15 years, one in five African children still miss out on basic vaccinations.

To address this, the 2017 Addis Declaration on Immunization (ADI) committed to advance universal access to immunisation across Africa, with the WHO immunisation business case for the African Continent helping to mobilise sufficient resources to fully achieve these commitments.

Launch of the framework on nurturing care for early childhood development 

The nurturing care framework provides a roadmap for action, building upon state-of-the art evidence and the effective policies and interventions that can improve early childhood development.

Together we can #EndCholera 

The burden of cholera remains high in many African countries. As of 7 May, many countries are facing cholera outbreaks, with at least 12 areas or countries reporting active cholera transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. Recent developments in the use of oral cholera vaccine (OCV) show that the strong mobilisation of countries and partners can effectively tackle the disease when tools for prevention and control are readily available.

Thursday 24 May

Addressing antimicrobial resistance: a threat to global health and the achievement of UHC 

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi. Coordinated action is required to limit its spread, along with greater innovation and investment in research and development of new antimicrobial medicines, vaccines, and diagnostic tools.

Friday 25 May

Better access for all with sustainable financing systems: the role of the private sector and new innovations to achieve UHC 

Achieving UHC means access to essential health services for everyone – including safe, effective and affordable medicines and vaccines – without financial hardship. As the public health intervention that reaches the largest number of people worldwide, immunisation will be a critical part of this discussion.

For the latest activities and updates, please see the WHA website: 



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