Press Release

UNFPA Welcomes New WHO Director-General

23 July 2003
Author: UNFPA

NEW YORK - UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, welcomed Dr. Jong-Wook Lee as Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), stressing that his leadership would benefit the health of women, adolescents and families worldwide.

“Dr. Lee is a strong leader in public health,” said UNFPA Executive Director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. “His commitment to reproductive health and combating HIV/AIDS will save countless lives. I am confident that the excellent relationship that exists between our agencies will be further strengthened under his leadership, particularly in the areas of adolescent reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence and safe motherhood.”

Ms. Obaid commended the new Director-General’s vow to scale up action and resources to achieve the Millennium Development Goals aimed at improving the health of women and children. UNFPA will continue to work with WHO and partners to support governments in their efforts to improve health and reduce poverty. “Working in partnership, we can advance reproductive health and rights, and scale up effective strategies to combat HIV/AIDS and reduce maternal and child mortality,” she said.

UNFPA also expressed its strong support for Dr. Lee’s commitment to strengthen health information and delivery systems in poor countries. “There is an urgent need to improve the capacity of poor countries to collect and process vital data, train and equip health professionals, and upgrade and expand health services. UNFPA is committed to working with WHO and other partners in these areas to ensure that reproductive health is an integral part of basic health care.”

Ms. Obaid praised former WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland, and pledged UNFPA’s continued close collaboration with WHO. “Much progress has been achieved over the past decades and we look forward to confronting new public health challenges with renewed vigour and partnership.”

Contact Information:

Ann Erb Leoncavallo
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-5023
Email: leoncavallo@unfpa.org

Kristin Hetle
Tel.: +1 212-297-5020
Email: hetle@unfpa.org