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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs