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Global health Swiss president addresses WHO anniversary meeting

Ebola awareness billboard in Liberia

The WHO meeting in Geneva comes amid an new outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Officials are more optimistic than in 2014 to contain the virus from spreading.

(Keystone)

The annual assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) has opened in the Swiss city of Geneva, focusing on improving access to medical services.

The five-day meeting, which comes amid a new outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo hopes to adopt a strategic plan to help countries meet the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

An estimated 100 million people are pushed into poverty by health costs according to a report by the WHO and the World Bank.

Addressing the assembly on Monday, Swiss President Alain Berset praised the organisation for its efforts to promote vaccination campaigns worldwide and combat the anti-immune deficiency syndrome, AIDS.

Swiss President Berset at WHO assembly

In his speech to the assembly, Berset acknowledged that the WHO has made progress in granting better access to health services for people in the past 70 years. 

(Keystone)

He said health was a fundamental pillar for prosperity, peace and security human. He added Switzerland supported efforts to provide health services to particularly vulnerable people around the world.

WHOexternal link was set up by the United Nations 70 years ago. It has a staff of more than 7,000 people working in 150 country offices, including at the Geneva headquarters.

Berset who is also Swiss interior minister in charge of health issues, also plans to hold bilateral meetings with health ministers from several other countries. 

swissinfo.ch with SDA-ATS; urs


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