World Health Organization Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, has summed up 2016 achievements with a hopeful note, stating that ‘advances in global health give the world some of its brightest reasons for hope in 2017’.
“This year ends in uncertain times, for the world’s political order, the fate of a damaged planet, the seemingly boundless human suffering experienced by civilians and health care staff in war zones, and the continuing failure of antibiotics that once gave medicine its “miracle” cures”.
Dr. Margarete Chan cited WHO’s role in securing dramatic price reductions for the new hepatitis C treatments, the successful control and eradication of Ebola outbreak, the designation of Zika as a public health emergency of international concern. Also the successful control of Africa’s explosive outbreaks of urban yellow fever tested – and confirmed, and WHO’s expanded operational capacities under the new programme for health emergencies.
“In 2016, we alerted the world to some alarming trends the shortage of vaccines in Africa, the harm done to young people’s health by gender and social inequalities, increasing deaths in Europe linked to alcohol consumption, the scale of childhood hearing loss, and the massive health consequences of polluted air,” she noted, adding that such alerts stimulate research and encourage action.
Dr. Shan said WHO responded with the international community to numerous emergencies caused by natural disasters, armed conflicts in the Middle East, and the vast humanitarian crises in South Sudan and Nigeria. The demands on the resources of the international community, especially in country, were enormous.
“On the positive side, the year was an especially good one for tobacco control, with more countries passing laws mandating plain packaging and Uruguay legally defeating the world’s largest tobacco company. Advances in AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria made headlines, as did the outcome of the UN High-level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance. The support for universal health coverage keeps getting stronger,” she said.
Story courtesy of WHO