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WHO's New Chief Very Optimistic

The new Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan is very optimistic about dealing with all pandemics currently threatening mankind.//

Dr. Chan cites the case of measles to point out that with enough effort and political will anything is possible.

WHO reports released last week depict that deaths from measles have been reduced by 60 percent globally and in Africa by 75 percent in the past five years.

Dr. Chan attributed the success to committed health officials. Improving health conditions in Africa would serve as a parameter in judging the accomplishment of WHO and this would mean improving the quality of life there, as the link between poverty and health is undeniable, she added.

‘When women are given a hand up in terms of household income, we see improvements in their own health and that of families and communities,’ she said. ‘When we think about the health in Africa, we must never forget the links between poverty and health. Poor health anchors large populations in poverty. Better health allows people to work their way out of poverty and spend household incomes on something other than illness.’

Dr. Chan notes that although infectious diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, have to be tackled on an emergency scale in Africa, chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes, should not be ignored.

The WHO chief is unhappy that polio eradication is still unfinished and plans to summon an executive meeting next month. She also warns the governments not to let down guard on avian influenza and remain vigilant.

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