Peng Liyuan, an acclaimed Chinese vocal artist, has been appointed as a goodwill ambassador for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS by World Health Organization’s Director-General Margaret Chan.
Chan said that Peng will raise international attention for the two diseases and will advocate for stronger action to ensure that those in need will be able to access prevention, care and treatment services.
"I am delighted that Ms. Peng Liyuan has agreed to represent the WHO as a Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS," Chan said. "Her appointment will have a lasting impact in bringing awareness to two of the world's deadliest infectious diseases and the recent advances that have been made in the areas of prevention and treatment of TB and HIV. Ms Peng has captured the attention of millions of fans through her compelling performances. Through her increased profile on a global platform, she will reinforce international commitments to achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals, set for 2015."
Peng has a following in China of millions of people. She has won multiple awards for both singing and humanitarian work. She has worked with the Chinese Ministry of Health for over five years to spread awareness about preventable diseases.
"It is a great honor to be given this important role by WHO," Peng said at an inauguration ceremony at WHO headquarters in Geneva. "I hope to make a significant contribution to the great work of WHO in saving lives from TB and HIV/AIDS, and that my involvement will benefit those who are at most at risk."
There were an estimated 9.4 million new TB cases worldwide in 2009, with an estimated 1.1 million also living with HIV. A total of 2.6 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2009, adding to a total of over 33 million people who live with the disease globally.