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Ministers of health from around the world will discuss issues including the Ebola outbreak, emergency response, dengue, pollution and child obesity. Delegates from countries of the Americas are among the participants

Ministers of health and other delegates from 194 countries are set to participate in the 68th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, on 18-26 May. Participants in this year's meeting are expecting to reach agreement on action in a range of areas, including emergency response, Ebola, antimicrobial resistance, prevention and control of dengue, the impacts of pollution on health, and others.

The World Health Assembly is the top decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). Its main functions are to determine WHO's policies, elect the Organization's Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed WHO budget.

Representing the region of the Americas will be ministers of health and other delegates from member countries of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) as well as a PAHO delegation headed by Carissa F. Etienne, PAHO's Director.

During the Assembly, which is expected to draw thousands of delegates from around the world, health authorities will analyze issues including the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, WHO's response to severe and large-scale emergencies, a global vaccine plan, a plan of action to reduce antimicrobial resistance, prevention and control of dengue, and a global strategy to reduce malaria, among others.

Other items on the meeting's agenda include the impact of environmental pollution on health, substandard and counterfeit medicines, the incorporation of health into the post-2015 development agenda, WHO reform, and the WHO budget.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be among the special guest speakers at this year's meeting, which will be opened by outgoing WHA President Roberto Morales Ojeda, Minister of Health of Cuba, who presided over the 67th World Health Assembly in 2014.

Also during the meeting, country representatives will review technical reports on efforts to strengthen global health security through the International Health Regulations (IHR), the work of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, and the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition, and other issues.

Delegations from the Americas are organizing a series of parallel events on subjects including food labeling, antimicrobial resistance, women's health, health in emergencies, and access to medicines.



The Americas at the 68th World Health Assembly
68th World Health Assembly