World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan urged member states to step back in time and celebrate some of global health’s successes in her opening address before the 69th World Health Assembly on Monday.
She mentioned, among other things, the 19,000 fewer children dying from preventable diseases; the 44 percent decline in maternal mortality; and the 15 million people who now have access to antiretroviral therapy worldwide.
“Everyone in this room can be proud of these achievements,” she said. “You have saved many millions of lives. Your strategic and technical innovations have left us well prepared to set our sights even higher. You deserve an applause.”
Against this backdrop however are serious public health threats: yellow fever in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, potential flare-ups of Ebola in West Africa and the spreading threat of Zika.
Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.
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