Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Kouchner, in campaign to lead WHO, says more effort needed to improve health care

Kouchner, in campaign to lead WHO, says more effort needed to improve health care

Governments and individuals must step up efforts to improve health care for everyone, former French Health Minister Bernard Kouchner said Thursday, in pushing his campaign to become the World Health Organization's next leader.
Kouchner _ a physician who founded the nonprofit Doctors Without Borders _ said rich countries should give more money to fight the spread of poverty as a first step in containing deadly diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
"I'm convinced that poverty is the most important cause for diseases," he told reporters.
Kouchner, who spent years as a doctor in humanitarian crisis in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, said public health is a political problem.
"In rich countries, we live twice as long as in poor countries," he said, adding that the economic and political differences between countries have to be acknowledged when addressing public health issues.
Kouchner, who was France's health minister in the 1990s before becoming the first U.N. administrator in Kosovo, said if he is chosen to head Geneva-based WHO, one of his priorities would be to seek more funding for public health.
"It cannot just come from the state," he said. "The people have to take responsibility" and join in the goal of offering everybody the same access to health services.
Kouchner, 67, is one of a dozen nominees to succeed Lee Jong-wook, who died in May two years before the end of his term. The U.N. agency said it would decide on a new director-general at a special session of the agency's governing World Health Assembly on Nov. 9.
Among the other candidates are Margaret Chan _ who has been spearheading WHO's campaign against bird flu _ and Ecuador's outgoing president Alfredo Palacio Gonzalez, also a former health minister.
Acting WHO director-general Anders Nordstrom will continue in the position until the new chief is elected.
With the increase of global health threats, such as SARS, HIV/AIDS and bird flu, the WHO director-general position has become increasingly important.
Lee took over as head of the agency in 2003 after working for the agency for more than two decades in a variety of posts, including as head of its tuberculosis program.
He began as WHO was stepping up its battle against the SARS outbreak, and spent much of his three years in office urging countries to prepare themselves for the possibility of an influenza pandemic caused by the bird flu virus.
The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed at least 141 people, mostly in Asia.


Updated : 2021-08-02 05:45 GMT+08:00