Margaret Chan: My decade leading the WHO: dirty fights and steps toward universal coverage…

WHO Chief Bashes Big Alcohol

Dr Margaret Chan, the outgoing Director General of the World Health Organization summarizes her ten years at the helm of the world’s leading agency concerning health and well-being. She is set to step down as the chief of WHO on July 1, 2017, when Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, former Minister of Health in Ethiopia will take over.

In her review, entitled “My decade leading the WHO: dirty fights and steps toward universal coverage”, she looks back at a decade of leading WHO. Dr Chan minced no words about the role of the alcohol industry.

Contentious issues were legion…

Equally difficult issues arose when public health interests crossed purposes with the interests of powerful economic operators, like the tobacco, alcohol, food, and beverage industries. Economic power readily translates into political power. Those industries fought nearly every move we made, from recommendations to reduce daily sugar intake and tax sugary beverages to warnings that alcohol front groups must not write national alcohol policies to our advice on how to stop the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children.”

Dr Chan clearly calls out the conflict of interest at the core of Big Alcohol involvement in public policy formulation, and she addresses the obstruction of harmful industries with regard to implementation of policies that would benefit the health and well-being of people around the world.

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