The Virtual Course on Trade and Public Health responded to WTO members' priorities for technical assistance in this area. Adapted to the online environment from the earlier, successful series of face-to-face global workshops, its content was specifically tailored to give integrated support on the challenges created by the pandemic.
As with the previous face-to-face workshops, the course was delivered in close collaboration with the secretariats of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in the spirit of the cooperation commitment reinforced by the Directors-General of the three organizations on 24 June 2021. It followed the approach developed in the 2nd Edition of the WHO-WIPO-WTO Trilateral Study, “Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation: Intersections between Public Health, Intellectual Property and Trade”, published in 2020.
The course took a holistic approach to the interlinkages between trade and public health, mapping out how to plan and deliver coherent, integrated policy responses. The specially adapted programme consisted of five substantive modules, including reading materials, video lectures by over 20 speakers from diverse backgrounds and a quiz to assess knowledge transfer.
Four public webinars extended the outreach and reinforced the interactive component of the training with active discussions amongst experts from academia, the private sector, civil society, governments, and regional and international organizations. The programme, video and background materials of each webinar remain publicly available on the WTO website:
- Dissemination of Health Technologies
- Perspectives on Access to Medical Technologies
- Delivering Medical Technologies and Vaccines to End Users
- Regulatory Cooperation during the COVID-19 Pandemic
A total of 84 participants from 44 members and two observers, with responsibilities for trade, health and intellectual property, were selected and registered on the WTO e-Learning campus. Of those, 75 participants (89 per cent) successfully concluded the course; 92 per cent of them with an average score above 92.4 per cent.
Only 11 per cent of registered participants did not complete the course work. The majority of participants came from Asia and the Pacific (31 per cent), Latin America (26 per cent) and English-speaking Africa (15 per cent).