World Physiotherapy representation at 77th World Health Assembly

World Physiotherapy and the global physiotherapy profession were represented at a number of events and activities during the recent 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.


This included a global health forum, a WHA77 parallel event, and the presentation of constituency and individual statements, as part of World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA).

Suh-Fang Jeng, World Physiotherapy vice president, took part in the global health forum, on 28 May 2024, and presented on two topics:

  • global health governance in war and conflict: What roles should different global health actors and professionals play during wars or conflicts?
  • global health governance in the next pandemic: How can we establish better systems to ensure the health security of countries that are geopolitically disadvantaged?

In her presentation, Suh-Fang shared the experience of World Physiotherapy’s collaboration with Humanity + Inclusion (HI) and other international non-government organisations (NGOs) to publish practical guidance on integrating early rehabilitation into emergency response in conflicts and pandemics. This practical handbook was later translated into multiple languages for physiotherapists working in conflict areas. To prepare for a future pandemic, Suh-Fang advocated for a safe and positive work environment for all healthcare professionals that would benefit outcomes for patients.

Constituency and individual statements

As part of WHPA, World Physiotherapy made constituency and individual statements to WHA77

Constituency statement on intergovernmental negotiating body to draft and negotiate a WHO agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response

The statement, made on 28 May 2024, urged member states to:

  • continue and complete the negotiation process as soon as possible, so momentum would not be lost
  • set up strong and truly equitable terms on access and benefit sharing for everybody’s sake

Find out more: WHA77 Constituency Statement: Intergovernmental Negotiating Body to draft and negotiate a WHO agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (Agenda Item 13.4)

Individual statement on global health and peace initiative

The statement, made on 31 May 2024:

Find out more: WHA77 Individual Statement: Global Health and Peace Initiative (Agenda Item 14.3)

NCDs and workforce dynamics: empowering tomorrow's health workforce

WHPA held a side event, 28 May 2024, which was part of the growing partnership between WHPA and WHO.

The keynote speakers were Jim Campbell, director of WHO's health workforce department, and Bente Mikkelsen, director of WHO’s department for noncommunicable diseases, rehabilitation and disability.

Jim said models of healthcare delivery would have to change to respond to the growing non communicable diseases (NCD) crisis, with more priority given to prevention and health promotion. He added this would also require good teamwork between the professions and the right distribution of tasks, and that investment in the health workforce and education was essential to make these things happen.

Bente highlighted how essential the support of the health workforce is in tackling NCDs and how a well-educated and well-staffed workforce could save millions of lives at risk from conditions like hypertension. She also stressed the cross-professional and long-term nature of NCDs, which means they cannot be treated in silos and require collaboration between professions. She said redesigning health care to better respond to NCDs may involve more digital healthcare and delivering health care in places outside of the health system, as trialled during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Find out more: WHA77 Side Event—NCDs and Workforce Dynamics: Empowering Tomorrow's Health Workforce

Back to the listing