Outgoing WHO Director General Reflects On Past, Future Challenges Of Agency

STAT: My decade leading the WHO: dirty fights and steps toward universal coverage
Margaret Chan, outgoing WHO director general

“…Going forward, I would like to see the WHO do more to address financing issues, both for its own budget and the health budgets of low- and middle-income countries. … The WHO needs to keep the world focused on responding to the growing number of crises caused by the triple blows of famine, armed conflict, and outbreaks of opportunistic diseases like cholera. Strong leadership at the WHO is needed to keep pushing back against severe health threats that have their root causes in non-health sectors. These include chronic diseases and climate change, as well as the rise of antimicrobial resistance, for which agricultural practices play a major role. Recent changes in the global poverty map are also important going forward: 73 percent of the world’s poor now live in middle-income countries. What happens to them when these countries lose their eligibility for financial support from the Global Fund and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, remain an unanswered question. I have been greatly encouraged by the commitment to universal health coverage of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, my successor as director general. At a time when policies in so many sectors are increasing social inequalities, I am pleased to see health lead the world toward greater fairness and security in ways that matter to each and every person on this planet” (6/20).

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