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WHO and the public health community mourn the death of Dr Aileen Plant

Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General
29 March 2007

I would like to express my most sincere condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Dr Aileen Plant.

Dr Plant, of Australia, was a renowned medical epidemiologist, an outstanding global public health leader, and longtime friend to the public health community. She was a path-blazing, respected lecturer, teacher and writer. Many at the World Health Organization (WHO) considered her a mentor. She worked extensively with WHO.

Dr Plant made enormous contributions to the health and welfare of people in her country, and to the world. In the very early weeks of the SARS outbreaks in Viet Nam, she was instrumental in analysing the threat. She was a core part of the team which designed the influenza pandemic containment plan. Just this week in Indonesia, she helped to bring consensus on the challenging issues surrounding avian influenza virus sharing and ensuring access to influenza vaccine for developing countries.

She never hesitated to travel to the places she was needed. And we needed her, many many times, in extremely difficult situations. She brought a deep sense of duty, commitment, vast experience, ethics, courage, and professionalism to her work. Those who knew her described her as "the best," "the beating heart" and a "true servant" of public health.

We, and many others, will miss her personally, and professionally, very much.

For more information please contact:

Christine McNab
Communications Department
WHO, Geneva
Tel: +41 22 791 4688
Mobile: +41 79 254 6815