WHO Acknowledges Calderón’s Bravery in Coping with Flu

Calderon Flu maskThe World Health Organization (WHO) hailed Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s bravery in providing timely information on the presence of A/H1N1 flu in his country and sharing this information with the world.

“I would like to pay tribute to the leadership, transparency and courage of the Mexican president, who gave the world an early warning,” said WHO director general Margaret Chan, as she inaugurated the work of the Advisory Board of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) in this capital.

“You have suffered enormous economic losses by sharing information about the virus. It takes enormous courage to be the first country to report the emergence of a new infection,” said Chan, addressing the Mexican representatives in the hall, including Health Secretary José Ángel Córdova Villalobos.

Chan noted the paradox caused by Mexico’s attempts to warn the world, since it was “rewarded with punishments,” referring to the fall in tourist flows. “I know how that feels,” she said.

Chan was health minister in China during the outbreak of the Acute Respiratory Insufficiency Syndrome (SARS) in that country in 2003.

The leader thanked President Calderón for “alerting the rest of the world,” since this facilitated preparations for the human flu pandemic and urged attendees at the meeting to clap by asking: “Why are you so quiet?”

The director of the world health policy hailed Mexican Health Secretary José Ángel Córdova Villalobos’ work: “I congratulate Dr. Córdova on his leadership,” she said.

“We have been flattered by her recognition and above all, by the affection and support Dr. Chan has always given us,” said the Health Secretary.

He added that Chan has supported Mexico ever since the presence of the H1N1 virus was discovered in the country. “She fully understands what we went through,” he explained.