Washington – WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra agreed Tuesday to develop a work plan in 2023 to tackle shared priorities, chief among them the world’s health security and pandemic preparedness.
“As always, good to see Dr Tedros and discuss how we can promote the health of all people across the globe,” Secretary Becerra tweeted after the meeting.
During a day of strategic dialogue, which focused on universal health coverage, primary health care, mental health, equity, and the global health workforce, Dr Tedros also met with US Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr Ashish K. Jha, US Rep. Barbara Lee and US Sen. Bob Menendez.
Dr Tedros said he was grateful to Secretary Becerra for the “very productive strategic dialogue on how to strengthen WHO and reinforce global health security, including via a pandemic accord, investment in health-systems strengthening and prioritizing primary health care across the world.
Dr Tedros and the Surgeon General discussed ways that the United States and WHO could collaborate on mental health and touched upon the impact of loneliness on people’s health.
For many years, the United States has been one of WHO’s largest donors. It was the third largest in 2020-21, investing about US$ 700 million. In December 2021, the United States announced a US$ 280 million contribution to support critical work to help end the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthen public health systems and provide urgent relief.
The United States is a longtime supporter of WHO’s fight against polio, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, while helping advance global health priorities such as primary care for women and children, food and drug safety, and global health security.
The United States maintains a strong presence in WHO collaborating centres, lending its expertise across areas such as addressing cancer, occupational health, communicable diseases, nutrition, mental health, chronic diseases and improving health technologies.
The next strategic dialogues between the United States and WHO are tentatively planned for late 2023.