Universal Health Coverage should be top of to-do list for new WHO boss

Published: 22nd May 2017

Oxfam congratulated Dr Tedros on his appointment as new Director-General of the World Health Organization today and warned that determined leadership was needed to tackle health inequalities around the world.

Commenting on the task Dr Tedros now faces, Oxfam's Senior Health Advisor Dr Mohga Kamal-Yanni said:

"Top of Dr Tedros’ to-do list should be championing Universal Health Coverage including an end to user fees and high medicine prices that mean millions of people are pushed into poverty to pay health costs or miss out on treatment altogether.

"The WHO has a vital role to play in making medicines available and affordable for all who need them, including promoting new models to fund innovative research and development, to avoid unnecessary deaths across the world.

“Dr Tedros will also need the support of governments to ensure the WHO is well-funded and independent of any commercial influence, so that it is able to fulfil its mandate to build a healthier and fairer future for people everywhere.”

Notes to editors

Oxfam is also calling on the WHO and UN to work with governments to ensure recommendations made by a UN high-level panel on medicines in September are acted upon, including tackling intellectual property rules that are at odds with people’s human right to health. See here for more details.

Oxfam is urging the WHO to champion increased public spending for stronger health systems, which are essential to tackle epidemics and chronic conditions as well as to fight poverty and inequality.

Contact information

Melanie Kramers: mkramers1@oxfam.org or +44 (0)7825 088894 

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.

Read the blog: Will the new WHO Director-General commit to end crushing healthcare user fees?