Gaborone, Botswana – 11 April 2018: The WHO country team, led by Dr Martins Ovberedjo, the WHO Representative (WR) for Botswana, met Ms Ruth Maphorisa, the new Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) to brief her and her senior personnel on the upcoming 71st World Health Assembly. The WR also took the opportunity to congratulate Ms Maphorisa on her appointment as the Permanent Secretary in the MoHW.
The management team at the MoHW was recently reconstituted with the appointment of a new Minister, new Assistant Minister and a new Permanent Secretary. The briefing session, therefore, was necessitated as part of the planned orientation and preparation for the WHA 71 Delegation.
In cognisance of the needs of the newly appointed MoHW leadership, the orientation session also covered a brief history of the WHO, and its functions, strategic priorities, Governance, Institutional Arrangements and Leadership.
The MoHW participants were thereafter taken through important WHA 71 issues including: the WHA invitation; Daily timetable; Registration Process; Credentials; Visas; participation in plenary meetings, including procedures for raising and presenting issues of concern considered relevant for the country to note. Other issues raised for attention include: the Draft 13th GPW 2019 - 2023; Technical Programme Priorities; and Programme Budget and Financial matters. Relevant internet links to access key documents were also availed.
The attention of the MoHW Delegation was drawn to important committees and side meetings which require necessary preparation including: the WHO Director General’s request to countries to make a statement on their commitment to support Universal Health Coverage (UHC); WHA Rules and Process; the African Group meetings; Technical briefings on the Role of Parliamentarians; and Countries’ Membership Fees commitments.
The WCO team reaffirmed its commitment to support the MoHW delegation to ensure adequate preparation and participation.
The PS, Ms Maphorisa, in her response, thanked the WCO team for the presentation which she described as concise and useful. She shared her assurance to deepen technical partnership with WHO on strategic and important health matters in Botswana.
The meeting concluded with an agreement to hold another pre-departure meeting before the Botswana delegation leaves for WHA 71, and also to meet upon its return to debrief relevant stakeholders.