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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid