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UN Secretary General Makes Historic Visit to CDC

Published: June 2, 2008

Photo: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses CDC employees during a brief, but historic visit. Photo by Greg Knobloch
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses CDC employees during a brief, but historic visit.
Photo by Greg Knobloch.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently and thanked CDC staff members for their contributions to global public health advances in reducing measles deaths and working to eradicate polio and other infectious diseases. He also encouraged renewed efforts to assist "the poorest of the poor" throughout the world.

Ban told the enthusiastic crowd that it was a privilege for him to be at CDC "to see firsthand the wonderful work you do. I appreciate your commitment to global health."

A Man of Leadership, Wisdom, Patience

In introductory remarks, CDC Director Julie L. Gerberding, MD, MPH, observed that Ban's brief but historic visit was a momentous occasion for the agency. She noted CDC's critical partnership with the United Nations and described Ban as a man of broad experience who exemplifies the virtues of leadership, wisdom and patience. "He is a true expert in international policy, and he's repeatedly demonstrated his sensitivity and humanism as he tries to bring opposing parties together to solve very, very difficult problems," Gerberding said.

Global Health: A Top Priority

During his remarks, Ban stated that global health is one of his top priorities. He cited progress in controlling or eradicating malaria, measles, polio, and Guinea worm, but noted that many challenges remain—the burden of HIV/AIDS, addressing the special needs of Africa, and the race to reach the United Nation's millennium health goals by 2015. "We are only halfway toward achieving most of the goals," Ban said. "We must step up our efforts."

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Visits CDC (Podcast Icon14:22min)

Ban also pointed out that climate change and food prices have created serious and profound impacts on people's health and well-being. "The poorest of the poor are most affected by this crisis; therefore, we must work together. That is why we need CDC even more. We need your continued engagement in training and reinforcing a measure of public health assistance around the world."

In 2008, CDC is investing $1 billion in global public health programs. Ninety percent of these investments support initiatives that prevent and control six high-burden, high-priority infectious diseases—HIV/AIDS, polio, measles, malaria, influenza, and tuberculosis. CDC achieves global health impact through collaborative efforts with multiple partners, including the World Health Organization and UNICEF. As CDC shares its resources and expertise with other countries, the agency learns more about diseases and conditions that exist or are emerging.

Examples of CDC programs and partnerships around the world include these:

Page last reviewed: June 2, 2008
Page last updated: June 2, 2008
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