FW: press coverage/polio
- WHO priorities.
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Subject: press coverage/polio
this is the final wrap on AP with reference to polio ...
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Copyright 2000 Associated Press
May 20, 2000; Saturday
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 548 words
HEADLINE: WHO Takes On Challenges, New & Old
BYLINE: CLARE NULLIS
The World Health Organization called Saturday for more concerted
action against AIDS, malaria, and smoking-related diseases, while also
concerns on new issues like bioethics and cloning.
Closing its annual six-day conference at its Geneva headquarters, the WHO
presented a long list of action needed to fight the world's most formidable
health problems, including HIV, which has infected about 34 million people
worldwide and threatens to reverse social and economic developments Africa
made in the past 50 years.
The 191-nation assembly said more must be done to improve access to drugs to
treat HIV, AIDS and related illnesses in developing countries. African
have complained that recent promises by pharmaceutical companies to slash
treatment prices didn't go far enough.
''We are about to give new directions and a new energy to an expanded,
revitalized response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic,'' WHO Director-General
Brundtland said in a closing speech.
The U.N. organization also called for better price databases to allow
to shop around for the cheapest drugs, though the United States and European
countries successfully argued against having one centralized database
by the WHO.
With limited resources less than $850 million in its budget this year the
Western nations argued that the WHO had to be selective with its programs.
In other resolutions adopted Saturday, the WHO assembly urged governments to
introduce more national measures like healthy eating programs and tobacco
taxation to cut heart disease, cancer and respiratory illness.
It said there should be more cooperation with industry and consumer
organizations to tackle the growing threat from foodborne diseases.
Delegates also discussed plans for the WHO to become more active on issues
human cloning, with France spearheading widespread concern about the U.N.
agency's relative silence in the international bioethics debate.
The agency is still struggling with a structural overhaul initiated by
Brundtland, who took over two years ago replacing Hiroshi Nakajima of Japan.
Though her corporate-like management style and fast pace have caused
among WHO staff, Brundtland has won widespread praise among member
''She's breathed new life into WHO,'' said U.S. delegate Thomas Novotny.
Novotny said Brundtland's plans for a global anti-tobacco treaty were
really wonderful.'' Brundtland suggested the treaty to stem smoking-related
deaths, estimated at 4 million worldwide this year.
African officials praised the WHO's new projects against malaria, as well as
alliance with the private sector to increase vaccinations against childhood
diseases, such as measles, tetanus, diphtheria and polio.
But Brundtland had to concede that the target of ending all transmission of
polio virus by the end of this year would not be achieved because of
several African countries frustrating vital immunization campaigns. The
also continued to exist in parts of India.
And with an estimated 2.5 billion people living in poverty with little or no
access to health care, the WHO assembly made no reference to its
motto: ''Health for All by the Year 2000.''
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