WHO Director-General Chan speaks at WONCA
Chan began her speech in Prague by commending physicians for the important role they play in world health. Chan believes family physicians have the power and compassion to educate families about the roots of good health, which begins with healthy diets and refraining from drug abuse.
"Your work continues a long and noble tradition," Chan said. "The first physicians were generalists. Family doctors have always been the backbone of health care. Family doctors have always been the bedrock of comprehensive, compassionate, and people-centered care."
Chan said the medical concerns of today have shifted due to demographic aging, rapid urbanization and unhealthy lifestyles, causing chronic, non-communicable diseases to run rampant. Drug-resistant viruses also pose a threat to current medical technology and may result in a world of disease so powerful no current medications will be effective.
"Some experts say that medicine is moving back to the pre-antibiotic era," Chan said. "No. With so few replacement drugs in the pipeline, we are moving to a post-antibiotic era where many common infections will once again kill."
Chan said the only hope is to keep people at the forefront of health care. Chan is hopeful that family doctors will play an integral role in keeping the family unit healthy, which can slow down the rate of chronic diseases.
"Primary care is our best hope for the future," Chan said. "Family doctors are our rising stars for the future."