Message from the UN Secretary-General
The theme of this year's World Health Day -- international health security -- reminds us that threats to public health know no borders. The spread of diseases, natural disasters, environmental change, bioterrorism or chemical spills can all have a major impact on people, their societies and economies around the world. Such threats present new challenges and require an urgent and collaborative response.
Health, development and global security are inextricably linked. Investment in health is a cornerstone of economic growth and development, and a prerequisite for meeting many of the Millennium Development Goals. Moreover, the security of all countries is today increasingly dependent on the capacity of each to act effectively, and collectively, to minimize health threats.
The revised International Health Regulations, which will come into force in June this year, represent a milestone in the world’s efforts to build and reinforce effective mechanisms for disease outbreak alert and response at the national and international levels. It is essential for all of us that every country implements fully these regulations.
Life and health are our most precious possessions. We have the knowledge and unprecedented resources to build a healthier, safer world. Let us take the occasion of World Health Day to mobilize the political will. Let us ensure that each country -- rich and poor -- has a robust health system capable of serving all those in need. Addressing our common vulnerability demands nothing less.