World Health Assembly 2023 Summary

PSI participated in World Health Assembly (WHA) 76, where we advocated for decent work for all health and care workers. The WHA serves as a platform for global health discussions and the formulation of policies and strategies. The WHA convenes annually to discuss and make decisions on global health priorities, policies, and programs. 

PSI participated in World Health Assembly (WHA) 76 where we advocated for decent work for all health and care workers, occupational health and safety, strengthening the health and care workforce, migrant rights, universal health coverage (UHC) and health equity, social determinants of health and global health emergency preparedness. The WHA serves as a platform for global health discussions and the formulation of policies and strategies. The WHA convenes annually to discuss and make decisions on global health priorities, policies, and programs. 

The attached document at the bottom of this page contains a summary of the proceedings.

PSI delivered the following statements on the following topics at the WHA:

Pillar 1: Universal Health Coverage 

We welcome Report 76/7’s emphasis on the paramountcy of government funding for UHC & highlighting the increasing incidence of catastrophic health expenditure. 

We thus urge Member States to halt the privatisation of health in any form and call on Member States to spearhead steps to remove institutional and structural constraints on the fiscal policy space of LMICs. 

To ensure equal access to medical products, we urge Member States to take bold steps to undercut super-profits on medical products & services. 

We call for the Assembly’s inclusion of implementing the UNCOMHEEG’s recommendations, for dramatic scale-up of health and care worker employment, and the Global Health and Care Worker Compact in the listed monitoring and accountability tools.  

Pillar 2: One billion more people better protected from health emergencies 

PSI advocates for workers' rights and universal access to QPS. We speak on behalf of the 30 million workers we represent, of which 60% are health workers. 

Our members have witnessed that privatization of public services and erosion of workers' rights hinders states' ability to prevent, prepare, and respond to PHE. PPR instruments need to incorporate measures that guarantee decent work and strengthen public healthcare systems to build sustainable preparedness for health emergencies. We cannot let austerity policies stand in the way of people's lives. Health security is inadequate to promote health equity and social justice. 

We urge MS to work towards open, public-led R&D systems and design legally binding mechanisms to lift IP-related monopolies. We believe that to promote equitable access to medical countermeasures, PPR instruments should include an automatic waiver of IP rules triggered by the declaration of a PHEIC. 

We support the IHR proposal by Eswatini, Bangladesh and the African Group to include provision for waiving IP protection in national legislation, share rights over products developed with public funds and share regulatory dossiers to kick start local production. Strengthening local and regional production is necessary to decentralize manufacturing capacity and diversify supplies towards timely access to medical countermeasures. 

Health technologies are global public goods. We urge MS to create legally binding conditionalities to ensure that health technologies that originate from public-funded research are kept in the public domain. 

Pillar 3: One billion more people enjoying better health and well-being 

Public Services International represents millions of health and care workers globally advocating for decent work and QPS. I make this statement on their behalf. 

Austerity has decimated our health and care services resulting in overloaded and under-resourced systems and workforce. This has worsened health inequalities leading to poor outcomes for patients and service users. Our members are working hard to deliver quality health and care to their communities. However, they face a highly fragmented healthcare system with increasing privatisation, reduced funding and worsening working conditions.  

Fully funded QPS with equitable access is the foundation of health promotion and well-being. We urge Member States to commit to fully funded QPS delivered by a well-trained, well paid and supported workforce to ensure the well-being of all.  

Pillar 4: More effective and efficient WHO providing better support to countries 

PSI welcomes the decision to extend the WHO Global Action Plan, which is very relevant as the world faces the multiple crises of conflicts, climate, widespread poverty and unemployment driving forced migration and displacement. 

We uphold the human right to health of migrants and refugees regardless of status.  Inclusive and  quality public health services supported by adequately staffed, trained and fairly compensated workforce is essential. 

There must be firewalls separating health services from immigration control, access to justice and compliance with core labour standards for refugees and migrant workers. 

Detention, expulsions and mass deportations deprive migrants and refugees of their right to health. MS must establish safe and legal pathways to migration that are child-sensitive, gender-transformative and human rights-based.  


Right now governments across the world are negotiating a new Pandemic Treaty at the World Health Organization, which will shape the Covid-19 recovery and determine how we deal with future crises. Yet this Treaty can only be effective if it responds to the voices of health workers, whose experiences and perspectives through this pandemic must be at the heart of this process.