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Global Struggle Against Disease

Integrated, Long-Term Approach Needed In Global Struggle Against Disease – Annan

New York, May 9 2006

Given the global threat posed by HIV/AIDS, malaria and emergent epidemics such as avian flu, holistic health systems must be built around the world, especially in developing countries, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

“We must move away from the kind of health interventions that I would liken to peacekeeping without peacebuilding: humane and essential, but all too often lacking the necessary longer-term effort to consolidate results and make them sustainable,” he said in prepared remarks to the Fellows of the New York Academy of Medicine, a non-profit organization founded in 1847 that is dedicated to enhancing the public health.

An integrated, long-term approach will require the recognition that health issues are security issues and that much greater resources must be devoted to disease surveillance and response, he said.

In addition, he said it must be understood that public health hinges as much on the empowerment of women, human rights, education and other social factors as it does on medical technologies.

Finally, he called “critically important” efforts to build health systems that afford universal access in developing countries including by addressing the acute shortage of health workers there.

Africa alone, he said, will require one million new such workers to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the targets drawn up at the 2000 World Summit to reduce socio-economic ills by the year 2015.

“We need to build on the wealth of talent that exists in developing countries so as to construct a workforce capable of taking on people’s everyday needs, as well as the big killers of our age,” he said.

To accomplish that, he called on participants to support a transformation of medical training in developing countries and to promote increased assistance from developed countries for the full range of UN health programmes.

ENDS

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