Fifty-ninth World Health Assembly
Photos day 1
The Fifty-ninth World Health Assembly (WHA) opened today in a somber mood following the death early on Monday morning of the Dr LEE Jong-wook, WHO's Director-General.
The Assembly observed a two-minute silence and was suspended for 30 minutes following the announcement of Dr Lee's death.
Opening the formal proceedings of the Assembly, the Minister of Health of Spain, Elena Salgado said Dr Lee "was an exceptional person and an exceptional Director-General."
The new President of the World Health Assembly Professor Paulo Ivo Albasini Teixeira Garrido, Minister of Health, Mozambique addresses the assembly.
Excerpts from a speech prepared by Dr Lee were read out to the Assembly by Dr Bill Kean, Executive Director of the Director-General's Office.
The Assembly was introduced to a passionate young HIV/AIDS activist from Kenya, Johnson Mwakazi. Dr Lee met Johnson on a recent visit to Kenya and invited him to speak at the Assembly.
Johnson Mwakazi delivered a poem he wrote. "This one thing has destroyed families, this one thing has destroyed marriages, this one thing has killed men. It is not HIV, It is not AIDS....it is stigmatization."
The WHO flag on the United Nations grounds in Geneva was flown at half mast in honour of Dr Lee.
Mr S.-M Rhyu, Minister of Health and Welfare, Korea, signs a book in remembrance of Dr Lee.
The World Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body for WHO. It generally meets in Geneva in May each year, and is attended by delegations from WHO's 192 Member States.
This year, topics to be discussed at the World Health Assembly include: strengthening pandemic-influenza preparedness and response, including the application of the International Health Regulations 2005; infant and young child nutrition; HIV/AIDS; polio eradication; sickle-cell anaemia; smallpox eradication and the destruction of variola virus stocks; prevention of avoidable blindness; international trade and health; tobacco control; and intellectual property rights.