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IPU Health Advisory Group calls for parliamentary action in response to pandemic

Community worker

A community worker raises awareness about COVID-19 in Dhaka. © UN Women Asia and the Pacific

The IPU Advisory Group on Health has issued a statement on the current COVID-19 pandemic, calling on parliaments to cooperate with stakeholders to build capacity to manage health emergencies, including preparedness, prevention and response.

The pandemic has placed demands on decision-makers to act quickly to stem its spread. These decision-makers include parliaments, which are crucial in helping to tackle national and global emergencies through their roles in legislation, oversight, budgeting and representation. They also help to disseminate important health messages to the people.

The statement urges parliaments to guarantee the allocation of a specialized fund to provide essential supplies for the health workforce and other essential staff; communicate evidence-based information; hold governments accountable for collecting and analyzing reliable statistics; and support the government’s measures to respond to the pandemic. It also stresses the importance of strengthening the capacity of health systems; collaborate with other stakeholders; and provide leadership for a functioning public health emergency management system.

The Advisory Group helps parliaments to create effective laws to respond better to HIV/AIDS and to ensure access to health care for mothers and children. It fights discrimination and punitive legislation.