Margaret Chan, the World Health Organization (WHO)'s newly-elected chief, said on Thursday that the UN agency's future work should focus on the health of Africans and women.
"The people of Africa carry an enormous and disproportionate burden of ill health and premature death," Chan said.
"The health of African people must therefore be a key indicator of the performance of WHO," she said in a speech to the top decision-making World Health Assembly that had just approved her as the new chief.
Chan added that the health of women must be the other indicator of the organization's work.
"I do not mean just maternal health. Women do much more than have babies," she said.
"Their activities in households and communities, coupled with their low status, make them especially vulnerable to health problems - from indoor air pollution and multiple infectious diseases to violence," she told the Assembly meeting.
"Reducing health problems in women and empowering them will result in a dramatic increase in health-promoting behaviors - right where it counts most," she stressed.
Chan also mentioned other challenges of world health, including infectious diseases, pandemic preparedness, etc..
Chan, from China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, will take office in January 2007 for a five-year term. She is the first Chinese national that has been elected to head a UN specialized body.