Margaret Chan Gives Final Keynote Address As WHO Director General, Defends Agency’s Relevancy

Agence France-Presse: Outgoing WHO chief says world ‘better prepared’ for health crises
“The World Health Organization’s outgoing chief Margaret Chan defended her legacy Monday, insisting the world had become better prepared to face health emergencies like Ebola on her watch…” (Larson, 5/22).

Associated Press: AP Exclusive: Outgoing WHO head practiced art of appeasement
“…During her decade-long tenure as WHO’s leader, Chan has often described herself as a ‘servant’ of the agency’s 194 member countries. She says she accomplishes more with stern, behind-the-scenes diplomacy than with public criticism. But confidential notes detailing her work trips show that even in private, Chan, whose successor will be chosen Tuesday, sometimes was more inclined to appease heads of state than to challenge them on health issues…” (Cheng, 5/23).

Devex: In final speech, Chan argues against irrelevance
“In her last opening speech before the World Health Assembly on Monday, Director-General Margaret Chan paid homage to her decade in office, but also fought to dispel notions of WHO’s irrelevance. ‘The facts tell a different story,’ she said. ‘We falter sometimes, but we never give up’…” (Ravelo, 5/23).

U.N. News Centre: In final address, U.N. health chief urges world body to ‘remember the people’ behind the facts and figures
“[Chan] highlighted the relevance of the World Health Organization (WHO), and offered its decision-making body parting advice that included protecting scientific evidence, pushing for innovation, and thinking of people in every decision that is taken. ‘Remember the people,’ WHO Director-General Margaret Chan told the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva. ‘Behind every number is a person who defines our common humanity and deserves our compassion, especially when suffering or premature death can be prevented’…” (5/22).

VOA News: Outgoing WHO Director Says Agency Remains Relevant
“…Chan’s tenure as head of WHO will soon end and after 10 years of service, she appears intent on handing her successor, who will be elected Tuesday, an organization that is viable and remains the essential leader in global health…” (Schlein, 5/22).

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