Director-General

Health Metrics Network Launch

Geneva, Switzerland
17 May 2005

Welcome to this launch of the Health Metrics Network.

I am pleased to be joined by so many of the people who are involved in this new and innovative partnership. WHO is pleased to host this new initiative. I would like to express my thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their financial support for this partnership.

All of the science on which we base our work, depend on sound data. Accurate information is at the core of our mission to protect public health.

In some areas of the world, even basic facts such as a person's birth, their death and cause of death are not recorded. The Health Metrics Network will work to close this gap by helping countries improve their ability to gather this vital basic health information. High quality data is critical to identifying problems and implementing effective solutions for people's health.

The world is constantly changing and our systems for collecting, disseminating and using information must keep up. We know what needs to be done, and the tools already exist. With the Health Metrics Network we can work to strengthen systems - especially in the poor countries which also suffer the highest burden of ill health - so that better information will contribute to better decisions that lead to improved health.

Thank you.

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