Chan appointed to second term as WHO director

The World Health Assembly, currently meeting in Geneva, appointed Dr. Margaret Chan for a second term as director-general of the World Health Organization.

In her acceptance speech, Chan stressed that she would continue to improve the health of the world's most vulnerable people.

"In my view, universal coverage is the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer," Chan said. "It is a powerful equalizer. [It] is the best way to cement the gains made during the past decade."

Chan said that the biggest challenge the organization will face over the next five years will be to maintain the momentum for better health that marked the beginning of the new century.

"The future of funding for international health development is uncertain," Chain said. "If we let down our guard, slacken our efforts, problems that are so close to being brought under control will come roaring back."

The director-general of the WHO oversees the policy for the organizations global health work and serves as its chief technical and administrative officer.

Chan, who is originally from China, joined the global health body in 2003 as its director for the department for protection of the human environment. She has since served as director of communicable diseases surveillance and response, representative of the director-general for pandemic influenza and assistant director-general for communicable diseases. She was appointed to her first term as Director-General in 2006.