Progress in many areas of public health are a cause for optimism said the head of WHO, the UN’s World Health Organization, this week. The past year produced three particularly encouraging trends: an increased investment in health systems; recognition of the reality of climate change by world leaders; and the resurgence of interest in primary health care, including the “record-breaking” effort to slash measle deaths in children.
The rise in the eagerness of development partners, UN agencies and funding facilities to devote resources towards health systems is “a striking and welcome change from the past,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in her opening address to the group’s Executive Board in Geneva.
Regarding climate change, she lauded the priority given to this issue by global leaders.
On primary health care, she was heartened by the revival of interest in public health care, especially as a means to achieve the Millennium Developments Goals (MDGs), eight targets to slash poverty and other ills by 2015.
Progress on global immunization for children was “record-breaking.” Particularly in Africa, there has been a huge drop in deaths from measles.