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UK Treasury Unveils Measures to Boost Life Sciences Sector, WHO Addresses Sexual Abuse at WHA

The World Health Assembly is coming to a close as many important items on the agenda have been addressed, including discussions on sexual abuse within the World Health Organization. The UK Treasury has also unveiled measures to boost the life sciences sector, while Europe’s Cancer Plan has seen a number of projects launched. Here are the latest developments:

WHA Winds Down: While civil society, global health experts, and journalists are wrapping up their work at the World Health Assembly, discussions for diplomats will continue until Tuesday. The latest news out of Geneva includes calls for cultural change within the WHO to address reports of sexual abuse and harassment, and discussions on the replenishment mechanism under an investment round in late 2024.

Tackling Sexual Abuse: Simon Manley, the UK’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, spoke about the need for “profound cultural change” within the WHO to address reports of sexual abuse and harassment, which have been ongoing for five years or more. WHO DG Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged that staff members were saying “justice delayed is justice denied,” and set a new deadline of 200 days for investigations to be completed.

Filling the Coffers: Ghana has called on the WHO’s Secretariat to develop an investment case and roadmap for the implementation of the WHO investment round, as well as implementing governance reforms to elicit greater confidence in the organization.

Looking to New York: WHO chief Tedros and others have pointed out that the world is not on track to beat tuberculosis, and have called for concrete targets at the September high-level meeting on TB in New York.

UK Life Sciences Boost: The UK Treasury has announced measures to boost the life sciences sector, including regulatory overhauls and sector funding, as well as funding for mental health and a new railway line to link up science centers in Oxford and Cambridge.

Trials and Tribulations: Clinical trials are changing due to cost pressures, recruitment challenges, and pandemic-related obstacles. The Innovative Health Initiative is exploring solutions, including platform trials that use one control group to test against multiple treatments.

Cancer Project Showcase: Two years since Europe’s Cancer Plan launched, a suite of projects are now up and running to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer in the EU.

As the WHO wraps up its work at the World Health Assembly, discussions on important issues such as sexual abuse, tuberculosis, and the life sciences sector are ongoing. Meanwhile, clinical trials are evolving to address cost and recruitment challenges, and the EU’s Cancer Plan is making strides in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

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