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Sixty-fourth World Health Assembly: daily notes on proceedings

Notes: Monday, 16 May 2011

WHO kicks-off World Health Assembly and chooses president

The 64th World Health Assembly opened this morning, with remarks pointing to tremendous achievements in recent years, and the need to remain vigilant and committed to reaching our targets for healthier communities worldwide. The delegates appointed the Assembly's president, Dr. Christos Patsalides, Director of the Ministry of Health for Cyprus, as well as five vice presidents from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Trinidad and Tobago, representing their respective regions.

WHO Director-General urges partners in global health to "remember the people"

In her address, Dr. Chan highlighted unprecedented progress, such as under-five childhood deaths at their lowest in more than 60 years, and a 60 percent drop in maternal mortality in two regions. Dr. Chan spoke of difficulties stemming from the global financial crisis and skyrocketing food and fuel prices. She commended UN agencies, countries and public and private partners for their hard work in saving lives from preventable and treatable diseases in the face of these challenges. Urging her colleagues to keep up their momentum Dr. Chan stated "any form of complacency at this point would be deadly." She also announced that WHO is embarking on the most extensive administrative, managerial, and financial reforms in its 63-year history.