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Reappointed WHO head says will focus on women's health

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 25 May 2012 18:10 GMT
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NEW YORK (TrustLaw) - The head of the United Nation’s World Health Organisation emphasised her commitment to improving women’s health and tackling domestic violence as she was reappointed for a second term this week.

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO’s director-general, also highlighted the importance of striving for universal health coverage. 

“My overarching commitment to improve the health of women and the people of Africa will continue,” she said in her acceptance speech.

“I will be fully supporting Every Woman, Every Child, as well as a growing number of initiatives to improve health in Africa. As part of my commitment to women, I will be giving more emphasis to the prevention of domestic violence.” 

Every Woman, Every Child is a programme created by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to promote the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to women and children’s health.

Chan said other priorities she would be pursuing in the next five years included health systems and capacity building, chronic noncommunicable diseases, mental health and disabilities, health security, health development for poverty reduction, access to medical products and treatments, and improving WHO’s performance.

One of her key goals will be the promotion of universal health coverage, which she described as “the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer”.

“Universal coverage is the hallmark of a government’s commitment, its duty, to take care of its citizens, all of its citizens,” added Chan, addressing the World Health Assembly in Geneva on May 23.

Chan described universal coverage as “the umbrella concept that demands solutions to the biggest problems facing health systems”.

These included: soaring costs of medicines and poor access to them, inadequate attention to preventive medicine, grossly inadequate numbers of medical staff, weak or inappropriate health information systems and regulatory control, and financing systems that are punitive for the poor.

Chan’s second term begins on July 1. 


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