Address Dr Margaret Chan
Address at the 23rd Forum on Global Issues Berlin, Germany 18 March 2009
Margaret Chan gave a speech pointing out the threats ahead of us due to the financial crisis, the climate change and the next emerging disease to come. The financial crisis is only adding to an unfair system where each year 100 million people fall into poverty due to the price of ill health. Out of pocket payments that have been promoted as a way to improve the system have in fact punished the poor by denying them the right to access health. The market does not solve social problems. The financial crisis will affect health in all countries developed or not but it will have a harder impact on the poorest countries.
Climate change will have indirect effects by reducing food security, increasing malnutrition, diarrheal diseases, death and injuries due to climate events like storms or heat waves. Developing countries will be first and hardest hit. Water stress could affect 250 million Africans by 2020. Environmental refugees will increase.
Finally, as we have seen with the SARS, it is possible to see the emergence of a new microbe at anytime and the international community must stay ready to face that challenge.