World Health Assembly Elects Margaret Chan For 2nd Term As WHO Director-General

“The World Health Assembly [on Wednesday] appointed Dr. Margaret Chan for a second five-year term as Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO),” a WHO press release reports (5/23). This will be the second consecutive term for Chan, who was first elected in November 2006 and “was the sole candidate nominated ahead of Wednesday’s election,” Agence France-Presse notes. According to the news service, “the WHO said [Chan] received the backing of 88 percent of members who voted” (5/23).

In her acceptance speech, Chan “underlined her commitment to improving the health of women and the people of Africa, as she pursues other priorities, such as enhancing health systems and combating non-communicable diseases,” the U.N. News Centre writes. “She also underlined the importance of universal health coverage, describing it as the single most powerful concept in public health,” the news service, adds, noting, “Chan identified her other priorities as mental health and disabilities; health security; health development for poverty reduction; access to medical products, and improving WHO performance through reform” (5/23). “Chan, a Canadian-trained medical doctor who was health director in Hong Kong before going to work for WHO in 2003, also was quoted as saying that uncertainty over international health funding is a top priority,” the Associated Press reports (5/23).