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WHO urges sufficient health budgets despite economic plight

(Xinhua)

09:08, October 21, 2011

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) Wednesday called on all governments to keep up sufficient health budgets despite the current economic woes.

Speaking at the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan reminded participants of the lessons learnt from the mistakes made during the crisis in the 1970s.

Chan said those governments who cut social spending in the 1970s ended up with extremely weak health systems, which they are suffering from today.

The director-general said after the outbreak of the 2008 crisis, she met with some health authorities and asked them to keep up their budgets, telling them that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund also opposed social spending cuts.

At the conference, Chan called upon the governments to set their people' health a priority over businesses' interests and to eradicate inequality in health care services.

She said governments should put their citizens' health before that of businesses, especially when the crisis is deepening. She added that more than 30 billion U.S. dollars should be spent in curing chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes in the next 20 years.

Chan also criticized some tobacco companies for pushing their governments not to lower the consumption limits and some food companies for putting excessive sugar in their products and making them prone to cause obesity and diabetes.

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