WHO chief eyes universal health coverage in 2nd term

World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan was appointed to a second five-year term. Photo by: WHO

What’s on Margaret Chan’s checklist for the next five years?

The Chinese national was appointed to a second five-year term as director-general of the World Health Organization May 23. In her acceptance speech at the 65th World Health Assembly, she identified priority areas for her next term, which starts July 1.

  • Reforming health systems and building their capacities.

  • Scaling up access to health supplies.

  • Reforming WHO.

  • Improving health in Africa.

  • Health security.

  • Health development for poverty reduction.

  • Mental health and other disabilities.

Chan also committed to continuing her support to improve women’s health by “fully supporting” a number of initiatives focused on the subject, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s “Every Woman, Every Child.” She also highlighted the need for universal health coverage, which she referred to as “the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer.”

The WHO director-general said she will issue a “report card” before her current term expires in June. The card will be a testament of her performance as WHO chief and will show if she was able to deliver on her “22 promises” to WHO’s member states.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.