Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization
19 May l 2008 | Geneva
Address to the Sixty-first World Health Assembly
Quotation from Dr Margaret Chan's speech, Director-General of the World Health Organization.
"Ladies and gentlemen,
I have mentioned at least one “perfect storm” brewing on the horizon. I believe that control of the neglected tropical diseases represents the opposite: a “perfect rainbow”.
We now see a whole spectrum of opportunities that have converged in a most harmonious way. Safe and powerful drugs are being donated or made available at very low cost. Integrated approaches have been devised for tackling several diseases at once.
A strategy of mass preventive chemotherapy, aimed at reaching all at risk, rivals the protective power of immunization. Research continues to document the improvements in poverty reduction and economic productivity when these diseases are controlled. A perfect rainbow really can end in a pot of gold.
With a comparatively modest, time-limited financial push, many of these diseases can be controlled by 2015. Some can even be eliminated by that date. In this regard, let me thank the government of the United States of America for its commitment of funds to control the neglected tropical diseases. I hope many other countries will show a similar commitment. If we can bring these diseases under control, that will be a contribution to poverty alleviation on a truly grand scale.
As you know, we are on the brink of eradicating guinea-worm disease, and funds are being secured to ensure this happens."