News / Health

    New Technologies Lead to Major Achievements in Health Benefits

    WHO Director-General Margaret Chan makes a point during her address to the 64th World Health Assembly at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, May 16, 2011
    WHO Director-General Margaret Chan makes a point during her address to the 64th World Health Assembly at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, May 16, 2011
    Lisa Schlein

    World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan reports new vaccines, medicines and other technologies are successfully combating killer diseases and saving lives. Chan delivered a generally upbeat message on the state of global health at the start of the organization’s 64th World Health Assembly.

    Health ministers from the World Health Organization’s 193 member states will have many weighty health matters to discuss.  These include issues such as pandemic influenza preparedness and sharing of influenza viruses, the health affects of radiation with a focus on the meltdown of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor, and the advances that have been made and need to be made in tackling infectious and non-communicable diseases.  

    WHO Director-General Margaret Chan got the discussions off on a generally positive note. She presented several items she calls proud achievements, many of them having a particularly beneficial effect on people living in sub-Saharan Africa.

    For example, she points to a dramatic new advance in preventing dreaded epidemics of meningitis in Africa.

    “Epidemic meningitis is not the biggest killer in Africa, but it is among the most greatly feared of all diseases," she said. "This is easy to understand, the sudden contagion, the rapid progression to severe disease, the long lines of people waiting for a vaccine after the epidemic has started. The people of Africa deserve better, and in December of last year, they got it.  A powerful new vaccine that can prevent epidemics in Africa’s notorious meningitis belt.”  

    Dr. Chan notes progress also is being made in other areas, thanks to research and development of new products on the market.  

    These achievements include a rapid new diagnostic test for tuberculosis that can deliver results in around 100 minutes.

    The WHO chief says millions of HIV-positive people are receiving life-saving drug therapy, the use of artemisinin drugs and insecticide-treated mosquito nets are containing the spread of malaria and important inroads are being made in combating the fatal effects of neglected tropical diseases, such as sleeping sickness.  

    While the achievements spell good news, Dr. Chan says the world has many obstacles to face and warns complacency in meeting the challenges will be deadly.

    “I am referring to the food and fuel crises, and most especially to the 2008 financial crisis, that proved to be so rapidly and ruthlessly contagious, affecting countries that contributed nothing to the causes," she said. "I am referring to the health effects of climate change, that are now being felt in all parts of the world. I am referring to the obstacles thrown our way by policies made in other sectors, especially those that contribute to the rise of chronic non-communicable diseases.”  

    Dr. Chan welcomed the results of an investigation into the way the World Health Organization handled the threat of the 2009 global influenza pandemic. She says the investigation exonerates the U.N. agency of charges it declared a fake H1N1 pandemic in order to line the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora