World Health Organization Head Takes Up Challenges

After much wrangling among candidates, the World Health Organization member countries approved Margaret Chan, a Chinese infectious-diseases expert, as the United Nations agency's new chief.

Dr. Chan's candidacy was approved in a special session of the World Health Assembly.

China has been criticized by the international health community for failing to disclose critical health information in a timely way. Dr. Chan has pledged not to favor Chinese political interests over those of international public health, and has been praised for her handling of the SARS infection.

In a speech to assembly delegates, Dr. Chan pledged to "work with you tirelessly to make this world a healthier place," warned that "infectious diseases have staged a dramatic comeback," and promised to work harder to prevent and prepare for outbreaks such as pandemic flu. "HIV, Ebola, SARS and avian influenza will not be the last bad surprises delivered by the ever-changing microbial world," she said.

Dr. Chan said global outbreak alert and response mechanisms already in place aren't enough to prevent a pandemic, and more is needed in individual countries. The WHO will help countries improve prevention, preparedness and response efforts, she said.

She said she would also devote efforts to improving health in a broad range of areas, from infectious diseases to chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer, as well as pushing ahead with tobacco control efforts.

Source: Wall Street Journal
WHO's New Chief Takes Reins, Outlines Agenda, November 10, 2006


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Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers general corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law, with a unique focus on alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies.

Michael H. Cohen is also President of the the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine, also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society. The Institute serves as a reliable forum for investigation and recommendations regarding the legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues involved in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care.

The most recent book written by Michael H. Cohen on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy pertaining to complementary and alternative medicine and related fields is an interdisciplinary collection of essays entitled, Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion. This is the fourth book in a series, begun with Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998).