Geneva,May18 (): “Nitish Kumar (Bihar Chief minister) and Muhammad Pate (head of Nigeria’s polio eradication programme) have demonstrated that the best leaders can overcome the worst circumstances,” said Bill Gates in his address to the 64th World Health Assembly (WHA), which is the governing body of the World Health Organisation (WHO)
The Sixty-fourth session of the World Health Assembly started in Geneva during 16–24 May 2011.
The Health Assembly will discuss a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board as well as the programme budget, administration and management matters of WHO. Mrs Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh spoke today noting health and development targets she has set for Bangladesh to become a middle-income nation within the next ten years, proclaiming “health is wealth.” Mr. Bill Gates Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation called for increased political and financial support for vaccines so that by 2020, we can prevent 10 million deaths.
The World Health Statistics 2011 released today shows that many countries are facing a double burden of disease. The prevalence of risk factors for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases and cancer is increasing while many countries are still struggling to reduce maternal and child deaths caused by infectious diseases.
“You have some countries, Northern Nigeria or Chad or the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) where less than half the kids right now are getting the vaccines,” Gates said, referring to polio immunization in those countries.
“They are just not putting good people on it, not tracking their results, not even getting out to parts of the country. The message has to be clear. They have to see this as their top priority. It hasn’t been,” he added.