Press Releases

    SG/SM/8083
    21 December 2001

    "I WANT TO SEE STRONG AND FOCUSED RESPONSES TO PEOPLE’S REAL NEEDS IN EVERY AREA, INCLUDING HEALTH", SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS

    NEW YORK, 20 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the message from Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the occasion of the release of the report of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health in London today, 20 December:

    When we are sick, working is hard and learning is harder still. Illness blunts our creativity, cuts out opportunities. Unless the consequences of illness are prevented, or at least minimized, illness undermines people, and leads them into suffering, despair and poverty.

    That is why good health features prominently in the Millennium Development Goals set by the Members of the United Nations at their Millennium Assembly in 2000.

    And that is why I spare no effort in urging the United Nations system to do more. I want to see strong and focused responses to people's real needs in every area, including health.

    Halting and reversing the spread of HIV and AIDS has been one of my priorities. Yet sometimes I sense uncertainty in the international community. I am asked: "Can progress be made?"

    My answer, now, is "Read the Commission's report. Its careful analysis and thoughtful conclusions show us all the real economic benefits of investing in people's health and well-being".

    The Commission also offers wise guidance on how to invest in health, including the kinds of safeguards and practices that will bring the best results.

    Within the United Nations we are challenged to catalyse effective action, and help others make a difference. We are making sure that the United Nations is ready to act, in concert with other committed and well-resourced actors.

    Let us respond to the challenges within the next six months. Let us make a difference, together.

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