WHO Director thanks Princess Akishino of Japan for her support for TB control
3 June 2011 | Tokyo | During his recent visit to Tokyo, Dr Mario Raviglione, the Director of WHO Stop TB Department, was presented to Her Imperial Highness Princess Akishino, patroness of the Japanese Anti-Tuberculosis Association (JATA). During the meeting, Dr Raviglione expressed his gratitude on behalf of WHO for the Princess's commitment and dedication in supporting efforts to halt the spread of tuberculosis.
The meeting took place 3 June 2011 on the occasion of the Annual Congress of the Japanese Society for Tuberculosis, where Princess Akishino delivered an opening speech and then presented her own research data on TB awareness among the Japanese.
Japan is a significant contributor to the WHO Stop TB Department. Through its funding, important programme work has been carried out which has resulted in the prevention of the deaths of many thousands of men, women and children from TB. It has also ensured the continuation of vital work by WHO Stop TB officers, work that has had a major impact across the Asia-Pacific region. Japanese experts and specialists have also played a major role in helping WHO design global policies against TB for many decades.
"Princess Akishino, as patron and figurehead of the Japanese Anti-Tuberculosis Association, underlines the importance the Government of Japan - and its people - place on global TB control. Her commitment to raising awareness on the need to prevent deaths from tuberculosis is evident by the personal support and encouragement she gives to Japan's tuberculosis professionals, including those working at an international level," said Dr Mario Raviglione.
Dr Raviglione's meeting with the Japanese imperial family member was significant for another reason. In 2005, Dr Raviglione was awarded the Princess Chichibu Memorial TB Global Award. The award commemorates the work of the late Princess Chichibu who served as patroness of JATA for 55 years from its foundation in 1939. Princess Akishino succeeded the late Princess Chichibu as patroness in 1994. The annual prize was given to Dr Raviglione in recognition of his achievements in global TB control.