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19 May 2014 - GENEVA  -  The World Health Organization's annual assembly opens in Geneva today, as a new global survey reveals that WHO is one of the world's two most highly rated international organizations. Approximately two-thirds (72%) of the public surveyed by Gallup say they have a good opinion of WHO and its close partner, UNICEF.

More than 3,000 delegates are expected to attend the 67th World Health Assembly. Over the next six days, high-level representatives from WHO's 194 Member States will discuss and make decisions on key global health issues, including:

  • efforts to prevent and control noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancers and chronic lung disease
  • a new global strategy and targets to prevent and control tuberculosis
  • proposals to improve the health of patients with viral hepatitis
  • a draft action plan for newborn health
  • progress on WHO's global strategy for maternal and young child nutrition
  • progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and the role of health on the post-2015 development agenda
  • ways to tackle antimicrobial drug resistance
  • efforts to improve access to essential medicines and strengthen the systems that regulate medicines
  • management of autism
  • protecting more people from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Delegates will also review the progress the Organization is making on reform.

Today's meeting will be opened by Dr Shigeru Omi of Japan, President of the 66th World Health Assembly. Delegates will  then elect a new president and officers. WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan will address the Assembly at 14.30 (CET). Her speech will be made available to the media immediately. Delegates at the plenary will then debate the relationship between climate and health.

Gallup survey
Some 82% of those surveyed by Gallup feel that WHO contributes to protecting people's health.  More than half of the respondents (51%) think the Organization contributes most by "promoting health services for the poor", followed by "protecting people from disease" and "responding to public health emergencies" with both at 42%.
The Global NGO Barometer 2014 by WIN/Gallup International Association  interviewed 66 306 people in 64 countries about 16 leading non-governmental and non-profit organizations. Organizations in the survey include: UNICEF, WHO, ICRC, Save the Children, , Greenpeace, Médecins sans frontiers,  World Wide Fund for Nature, Food and Agriculture Organization, SOS Children's Village, World Vision, UNHCR, CARE, Transparency International, Codex Alimentarius and Oxfam.