Dr Nafis Sadik, from Pakistan, is the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 03 January 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:7
  1. Fiona Godlee

    What do you see as the major health challenges of the next five years, and how should the WHO address them?

    Overall, one of the key challenges will be to ensure that health is clearly seen as the cornerstone of all efforts towards social and economic development. More specifically the WHO has a key role in each of the following:

    • Setting standards: the WHO should be prepared to offer leadership towards new goals for health in the 21st century, together with standards and “best practices” for reaching them;

    • Health monitoring, surveillance, and reporting: the WHO's responsibility is to ensure that monitoring and surveillance extend to all health related matters. Analysis and reporting on trends will offer important guideposts for health related policy;

    • Control of communicable diseases and emerging threats to health: the WHO is responsible in cooperation with its partners for providing accurate and timely information and promoting appropriate responses in all matters relating to health;

    • Health policy as part of development: the WHO must take the lead internationally in demonstrating the importance of the goal of the Health for All initiative, and in calling attention to the development policy implications of changing health needs;

    • Civil emergencies, war and natural disasters: the WHO, with its …

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