Executive Director Calls for Greater Integration of Health Services

1 August 2011
Author: UNFPA
UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin was a guest speaker at the Council on Foreign Relations' Guest Event, The Challenge of Non -Communicable Diseases. Photo ©Don Pollard/Council on Foreign Relations

NEW YORK, New York — "Integration is the answer," said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA as he spoke about the challenge of non-communicable diseases at the Council on Foreign Relations. "You cannot separate one [disease] from another. You have to look at [health] in a broad sense."

Through personal anecdotes, the Executive Director explained that focusing in on only one health issue does not make the best use of resources. Rather, planning ahead can allow policy makers to address a wide variety of health problems, including diabetes, cancers, HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB, in a more comprehensive way.

"It is not either or," he stressed. "It is everything together. We must invest in health systems that can look after everything and invest in prevention, prevention, prevention."

Also speaking on the panel were Nils Daulaire, U.S. Representative of the World Health Organization Executive Board and Director of the Office of Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Derek Yach, Senior Vice President of Global Health and Agriculture Policy at PepsiCo.

Together, the panelists discussed the role of pharmaceutical companies, the private sector and the UN in addressing the global prevalence of non-communicable diseases. They also spoke about the expectations and goals of the UN High Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases to be held in September of this year.

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