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David Serero performs for the 70th World Health Day at the UNITED NATIONS

David Serero performs for the World Health Day at the UNITED NATIONS.

Ambassadors from France, Japan, United Kingdom and many more attended this important event. David Serero performed opera arias, Broadway musicals and opened with New York, New York.

World Health Day and WHO’s 70th Anniversary celebration at the United Nations

On April 6, 2018, the World Health Organization office at the United Nations celebrated WHO’s 70th birthday under the theme “Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere”.

Over 160 participants across sectors, including Member States, the UN system, academia, civil society, and the private sector, joined the lively commemorative event at UN Headquarters in New York to congratulate WHO and discuss commitments that are needed at the political level to help shape health systems of the future to ensure health for all and that no one is left behind. The occasion also featured the launch of the UN World Health Day commemorative stamps.

Dr. Nata Menabde, Executive Director of the WHO Office at the UN, opened the event, acknowledging the gains made in public health since the organization’s founding in 1948 and re-emphasizing Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as WHO’s top priority to ensure the health of future generations and the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

French baritone singer David Serero entertained guests with the famous song “New York, New York” (customized to UN, UN) and arias from Madam Butterfly, Carmen, and Don Giovanni. Participants joined David to sing Happy Birthday to WHO, and he culminated the event with the song “You Never Walk Alone.” Several participants, including Ambassador Karen Pierce, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN, praised WHO for setting the standard for UN celebrations with such a festive yet substantive event.

These sentiments were echoed by video messages from WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros and UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres, who highlighted significant accomplishments in health systems worldwide as well as global successes in disease eradication and the challenges ahead.

Several esteemed speakers, including Member States, UN system agencies, and civil society, congratulated WHO on its accomplishments over the past 70 years. They highlighted the critical role of partnerships in advancing health for all by achieving SDG 3.8 on Universal Health Coverage.

Member States, including the Permanent Representatives of France, Georgia, Ghana, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, and the Deputy Permanent Representatives of Japan and Thailand, commended WHO for its work in helping to improve the health of their populations and shared their experiences implementing UHC in their national capacity. They pledged their continuous commitment to support WHO in achieving health for all, especially for the most vulnerable populations.

The president of ECOSOC, Ms. Marie Chatardová, highlighted the importance of achieving UHC in the context of sustainable development. At the same time, Mrs. Sofia Borges, Deputy Chef de Cabinet to the President of the UN General Assembly, praised WHO’s lifesaving work in health emergencies and reiterated the importance of the upcoming high-level meetings on Tuberculosis and Noncommunicable diseases.

Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner of Health of New York State and former WHO staff, underscored the critical role of WHO in bringing the global community together for health for all. He highlighted that 95% of the New York State population is covered by health insurance and that it is the state’s priority to achieve UHC, including for migrants, irrespective of their immigration status.

Representatives from UNICEF, UNDP, UN Women, and UNAIDS spoke on their collaboration with WHO and pledged their support to WHO in advancing UHC. The UNSG Youth Envoy, Mrs. Jayathma Wickramanayake, also emphasized the critical need to engage youth in the UHC movement.

Mr. Michael Myers of the Rockefeller Foundation pledged the foundation’s commitment to continue to partner with WHO on UHC. In contrast, Dr. Judy Kuriansky, UN Representative of the International Association of Applied Psychology, pledged to advocate for UHC strongly.

Launching the UN commemorative World Health Day stamps, Mr. Christian Saunders, from the UN’s Department of Management, stated that UHC is the foundation for a sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous future for all, underlining the significance of the stamps.

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