The Work of WHO in the South-East Asia Region, 2004
Other Titlesreport of the Regional Director, 1 July 2003 - 30 June 2004
AbstractThe 11 Member States of WHO's South-East Asia Region, hold the key to the state of the world's health. Home to over a fourth of humankind, and 40 per cent of the world's poor, the Region also carries a disproportionately high percentage of the global burden of disease. Thus, it has the potential to hasten or hinder progress towards achieving the universal goal of health for all. It is in this context that WHO's collaborative activities in the Region assume added significance. The work of WHO has always been guided by the cardinal principle of providing timely and effective support to Member States in their health development efforts. This can best be done by strengthening WHO country offices to respond more efficiently to country needs. During the major period covered in this report, WHO's collaborative activities in the Region were further strengthened under the able leadership of my predecessor, Dr Uton Muchtar Rafei. The main objective has been to improve the health status of the people, particularly the poor and marginalized sections of society in the context of sustainable development. The Report provides an overview of the significant contributions and progress made in different areas, the constraints as well as the steps being taken to overcome them. While much has been achieved, there is still considerable ground that needs to be covered. Among the unfinished agenda, we face the challenge of polio eradication and leprosy elimination. We need to strengthen efforts to promote healthy lifestyles and curb the increasing trend in noncommunicable diseases. We have to urgently find solutions to tackle drug-resistant malaria and tuberculosis and the rapidly increasing threat of HIV/AIDS. In addition, we need to be ever vigilant to respond effectively to global health emergencies, especially emerging infectious diseases, just as we did during the outbreaks of SARS and avian influenza. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals have set out the strategic directions that will help us steer our course. Reiterating the centrality of health to development, the MDGs highlight the need for efficient health systems to respond to the complex and wide-ranging needs of vulnerable populations and challenges to health development, now and in the future. Above all, what is required is a bold vision by the international community that recognizes health as a right for all, and not as a privilege for a few. To achieve our goals, we must strengthen community-based efforts. In order to have the desired impact on people's health, we need to stress the role of rational planning and team work. In the current context of severe resource constraints, we need to convince the donor community that investing in health is investing in the future.
World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia. (2004). The Work of WHO in the South-East Asia Region, 2004. WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/206479