The World Health Organization’s (WHOs) decision-making body, World Health Assembly (WHA) met for its 74th session on theme: “Ending this pandemic, preventing the next: building together a healthier, safer and fairer world” on 24-31 May in a video format.
At the invitation of WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a statement by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in a video format has today been presented at the closing ceremony of the session.
Heads of state and government of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Argentina, Malaysia, Australia and Bhutan made speeches at the session as special guests.
President of the 74th World Health Assembly Dechen Wangmo said: Distinguished delegates, It is my honor to welcome our high-ranking guest, who will now address the Assembly. I am pleased to give the floor to His Excellency Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Statement by Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan
I would like to start by expressing my gratitude for the invitation to address the 74th session of the World Health Assembly which takes place in a very challenging time for the global health agenda due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Azerbaijan supports the leading role and efforts of the World Health Organization in the global health governance, including in coordinating the global response to the pandemic.
From the very first days of the pandemic Azerbaijan has taken practical measures to minimize negative impact of the COVID-19 on the population and to keep the situation under control. Within short period of time, 13 modular hospitals and one regular hospital were built. Total number of beds designated to treat COVID patients throughout the country is more than 10 000.
At the same time, the socio-economic stimulus package worth almost $2 billion has been released in order to support COVID-affected people and business.
As a result of comprehensive measures our country has gradually eased the quarantine regime.
We have launched immunization campaign since mid-January this year using 99.94 % “Sinovac” vaccines and the rest AstraZeneca and Sputnik vaccines. 2 million vaccine doses have already been administered. This number constitutes 20 % of our total population. All the citizens above 18 years old can get vaccinated voluntarily. COVID-19 passports are issued for those vaccinated.
We welcome the designation of 2021 as the Year of Health and Care Workers.
Azerbaijan has very fruitful cooperation with the World Health Organization. Last year, the World Health Organization hailed Azerbaijan as an exemplary country in fighting the pandemic.
Azerbaijan has always propagated the importance of demonstrating a committed global solidarity to overcome the pandemic. In its capacity, as the chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, Azerbaijan has initiated a number of global initiatives, in particular the holding of the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in May 2020, and convening the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the level of the heads of state and government in December 2020 which was supported by more than 150 States.
Azerbaijan has made voluntary financial contributions to the World Health Organization in the amount of $10 million and provided humanitarian and financial assistance to more than 30 countries with regard to coronavirus.
Azerbaijan publicly condemned actions of some countries which purchase several times more vaccines than their actual needs and deprive developing countries from protecting their populations. The persisting “vaccine nationalism” and deepening inequality in access to vaccines between developing and developed countries are disturbing. According to international reports, so far, more than 82 percent of the world’s vaccine doses have been purchased by wealthy countries, while only 0.3 percent have gone to low-income countries.
To address this challenge, Azerbaijan, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, initiated a resolution on ensuring equitable, universal access for all countries to vaccines in the UN Human Rights Council, which was unanimously adopted this March.
We strongly encourage developed countries and international donor organizations to support developing, in particular least developed countries to this end.