Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan of the World Health Organization (WHO) addressed the 12th World Congress on Public Health on 27 April 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey. Entitled "Steadfast in the midst of perils", Director-General Chan discussed the threats to public health in the current global situation.
She commended the commitments to official development assistance for health. But she warned about the necessity to guard against the threats to public healthcare in the face of the various crises of the past couple years: the fuel crisis, the food crisis and the current financial crisis.
Dr. Chan urged a basic rethinking of our global system, saying that "the market does not solve social problems. Public health does". She expressed frustration that health has had to be sold to ministers of finance as "a good economic investment". Instead, she reminded her audience that in addressing the current global problems, health must be treated as the basic human right that it is, "pursued for its own sake, its own intrinsic worth as a condition that allows people to develop their human potential".
Go here for Dr. Chan's full speech.