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Commentaries 2016

Commentaries bring the view of WHO’s leadership on current public health issues



Universal Health Coverage: an affordable goal for all

Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, and Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Director-General of WHO and Deputy Chair of the Elders


Health workers: Listening when women need it most

"If you are a health provider, ensure you are non-judgmental and supportive. Provide practical care and support that responds to women's concerns without intruding."

Ian Askew, WHO Director, Department of Reproductive Health and Research


Health in the Sustainable Development Goals

"The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to shape a very different world. The factors that now govern the well-being of the human condition, and the planet that sustains it, are no longer so discrete."

Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO


Leading from the top to promote health and sustainable development

"Improving access to clean energy is an obvious solution. It fuels economic growth, but it also reduces millions of deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular disease associated with air pollution."

Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO


What’s good for the planet is good for health

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, El Houssaine Louardi, Minister of Health, Morocco, Hakima El Haite, Minister of the Environment, Morocco


Every tobacco death is an avoidable tragedy. The epidemic must stop here

"I urge global leaders convening in India to see this moment as an opportunity to bend the course of public health history."

Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO


The early years: silent emergency or unique opportunity?

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF, and Keith Hansen, Vice President for Human Development, World Bank Group


Political will needed to win fight against noncommunicable diseases

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, and Michael R. Bloomberg, WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs)


Successful Global Fund replenishment opens space for accelerating efforts

"Endemic infectious diseases kill more than 4 million people every year. While significant gains were made during the Millennium Development Goals era, progress has been uneven."

Dr Ren Minghui,
WHO Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases


Superbugs: Why we need action now

Dr Monique Eloit Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health, Jose Graziano da Silva, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Dr Margaret Chan, the Director-General of WHO


Ending malnutrition in all its forms? A decade of opportunity

Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of Nutrition for Health and Development, WHO, and Anna Lartey, Director of Nutrition Division, FAO


Vulnerable kids everywhere need their vaccines

"Children caught up in humanitarian emergencies are much more likely to miss their routine shots than those living in stable settings."

Flavia Bustreo,
WHO Assistant Director-General, Family, Women's and Children's Health


Birth in a time of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Dr Anthony Costello, WHO Director of Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health, and Dr Stefan Swartling Peterson, UNICEF Chief of Health


Endemic infectious diseases: the next 15 years

"More than anything, the next 5 years should be about creating solid foundations for ending the infectious disease epidemics everywhere... These diseases are known for returning with a vengeance, if we ever slow down."

Dr Ren Minghui,
WHO Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases


Universal health coverage: Unique challenges, bold solutions

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving UHC… Aging populations and the burgeoning burden of noncommunicable diseases present unique challenges that will require all countries to reshape their health systems.

Marie-Paule Kieny,
WHO Assistant Director-General, Health Systems and Innovation


Early childhood development begins with a mother’s breast

“At WHO, we’re working with countries to increase, by 2025, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months up to at least 50%."

Flavia Bustreo,
WHO Assistant Director-General, Family, Women's and Children's Health


The global burden of viral hepatitis: better estimates to guide hepatitis elimination efforts

“Addressing the global burden of hepatitis infection will require substantial additional resources... it is hoped that the improved understanding of the high burden of hepatitis will lead to an increase in international development assistance.”

Stefan Wiktor, Team Lead, WHO Global Hepatitis Programme, and Yvan J-F Hutin, Technical Officer, WHO Global Hepatitis


A comprehensive and fair solution to the price of medicines

"...recent trends represent a two-fold setback: on the one hand, new medicines are out of reach of even the wealthiest countries, on the other, older medicines are in great shortage."

Marie-Paule Kieny,
WHO Assistant Director-General, Health Systems and Innovation


Breastfeeding in emergencies: a question of survival

Dr Francesco Branca, WHO Director of Nutrition for Health and Development, and Mr Werner Schultink, Chief of Nutrition, UNICEF


An earthquake in Mexico? A flood in China? Grab the insulin!

"A country’s residents can better withstand a health emergency if a system of universal health care has been put in place -- before the emergency occurs."

Dr Oleg Chestnov,
WHO Assistant Director-General – Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health


World No Tobacco Day 2016: Get ready for plain packaging

This year on World No Tobacco Day, being held on 31 May, WHO is calling on governments to get ready for plain packaging of tobacco products.

Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO


Yellow fever: the resurgence of a forgotten disease

"Fortunately, bold action now can reduce the risk of further spread and virtually eliminate future outbreaks. Yellow fever can once again be vanquished through inclusion of the vaccine in routine childhood immunisation and mass vaccination catch-up campaigns in all endemic countries."

Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO


A new world, a new agenda for humanity

"We have a shared humanity with... everyone facing emergencies. These are real people, like you and me, but who are living under some of the worst conditions imaginable. And they are doing all they can to survive."

Dr Bruce Aylward, WHO Executive Director a.i., Outbreaks and Health Emergencies


Supporting People with Severe Mental Disorders in War

"...resources and clinical services should be decentralized... There is no better time to make this change than after an emergency, when politicians’ interests in mental health peak."

Dr Mark van Ommeren, Public Mental Health Adviser, WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse


FGM: It’s our job as health workers to ‘do no harm’

Ian Askew, WHO Director, Department of Reproductive Health and Research


Leave no one behind: Women, children and adolescent health in emergencies

Her Royal Highness Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan and Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General, Family, Women's and Children's Health


The time is right to invest in adolescents

"Many adolescents take excessive risks. Many feign a lack of interest in health and medical care. Yet, most at some stage are worried about their health and often lack someone with whom to share their anxieties."

Anthony Costello, Director, Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health


Vaccines: A global health success story that keeps us on our toes

Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General, Family, Women's and Children's Health
Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General, Health Systems and Innovation


World Health Day 2016: Let’s beat diabetes

"People with diabetes can live long and healthy lives if their disease is detected and well-managed." Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General
6 April 2016


Quote from Dr Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health:





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