• Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Celebrating the 75th anniversary of WHO and the 60th anniversary of cooperation


Apr 13, 2023

BUJUMBURA April 11th (ABP) – The First Lady of the Republic of Burundi Mrs. Angeline Ndayishimiye enhanced with her presence the ceremonies marking the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO 1948-2023) and the 60th anniversary of its presence in Burundi (1963-2023), coupled with the celebration of World Health Day, under the theme: “Health for all, let’s invest in primary health care”.

Signature of the work plan between Dr. Xavier Crespin and the Minister of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS in Burundi

In her address, Mrs. Ndayishimiye congratulated the WHO and Dr. Pie Masumbuko, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health and Population in 1963, who signed the cooperation agreement between Burundi and the WHO. According to her, the Government is delighted with the cooperative relations that have existed between Burundi and the WHO since 1963.


The First Lady of Burundi indicated that the right to health for all and universal health coverage are two faces of the same fight in order to bring the health of the people to the highest possible level.

She also specified that, during the 60 years of active cooperation with the WHO, Burundi has benefited from technical, material and financial support. Through biennial cooperation plans, WHO has supported the health system, intensified the fight against diseases, the promotion of the environment and the promotion of maternal and child health. Over the past decades, added Ms. Ndayishimiye, the WHO has been on the front line in all major health emergencies including Cholera and the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to her, Burundi’s most ardent wish is that the main traditional strategic axes of this cooperation be strengthened. She cited the reduction of morbidity and mortality due to malaria and HIV AIDS, emergency preparedness and response, the strengthening of stakeholders in favor of safer motherhood and the strengthening of the health system.

The WHO representative in Burundi, Dr. Xavier Crespin, also indicated that the right to health for all has been the driving force behind WHO’s action since its creation. Indeed, he stressed, Health for All is based on the renewed values and principles of primary health care. This means that every individual, every citizen can and should have access to the quality essential health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial barriers.

Dr. Crespin also pointed out that in the 75 years of its existence, the WHO has made certain advances in public health which have contributed to improving the quality of life of populations over the past seven decades. He cited the development and publication of several reference documents on policies and guidelines aimed at improving the health of populations, the creation of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), to support the introduction, worldwide, of vaccines for children, targeting several diseases at the same time, without leaving anyone behind.

Thanks to the partnership with several players at the global level, in particular the United Nations agencies, foundations, NGOs and the private sector, the WHO has vaccines to prevent more than 20 potentially fatal diseases. This allows people of all ages to have better health, noted Dr. Crespin.

In the same framework of the progress recorded, the WHO certified the eradication of smallpox thanks to an unprecedented global partnership, including the revision of the international health regulations (IHR) with a view to better detecting health emergency signals and protecting populations against the risks and repercussions of epidemics and pandemics, the implementation of the framework convention to reduce tobacco consumption, progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, to name but a few .

According to the WHO representative in Burundi, this progress is threatened by the persistence of health inequalities. According to available data, 30% of the world’s population does not have access to essential health services and around 12% of the world’s population still spend too much of their family budget on health care at the expense of other basic needs such as food, decent housing or schooling for children.

Those ceremonies were also an opportunity to sign the joint work plan between the WHO and the Ministry of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS. Also, certificates were given starting with Dr. Pie Masumbuko who signed the cooperation agreement between WHO and the Government of Burundi, and to WHO staff including retirees who performed their duties in an exemplary manner.