The Crown Princess of Denmark, WHO/Europe Patron, receives WHO Medal for commendable contributions to global health

WHO/Franz Henriksen

On 23 February 2017, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan presented Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark with a WHO Medal in recognition of her commendable contributions to global health. The Crown Princess became Patron of WHO/Europe in 2005. Since that time, she has actively advocated for WHO’s work in a number of areas, most notably maternal, child and adolescent health.

“The past 12 years as Patron of the WHO Regional Office for Europe has been both an educational and a rewarding journey,” The Crown Princess said upon accepting the award. “It is a very fulfilling role and I am very proud to be Patron of an organization that is so dedicated to improving the health and well-being of every person, at every stage of life, not only in this richly diverse region of Europe, but also globally.”

Dr Chan, in presenting the award, praised The Crown Princess for her vision and for the resolve with which she has tirelessly pushed forward the health agenda. She said, “It is a privilege to pay tribute to a member of the Danish royal family who has used her position and influence to shape public health and shine a light on issues that have been neglected.”

WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab also commended The Crown Princess for her work on behalf of WHO. “The Crown Princess has on countless occasions advocated for maternal and child health, as well as for health promotion and disease prevention in areas including immunization and antimicrobial resistance,” she said. “She brings to these challenging health issues her singular gift of explaining the critical and complex with a human touch, speaking to all, but valuing the individual.”

As Patron of WHO/Europe, The Crown Princess has engaged in activities to support the annual European Immunization Week initiative since 2008, as well as the more recently established World Antibiotic Awareness Week. She has addressed the WHO Regional Committee for Europe on numerous occasions, and travelled with the Regional Director to Tajikistan in 2014 and the Republic of Moldova in 2016.

The WHO Medal was awarded during a reception at UN City in Copenhagen, Denmark. Attendees included representatives of the diplomatic community, United Nations agencies and nongovernmental organizations.

An opportunity to express thanks for outgoing Director-General
The reception also marked what will likely be Dr Chan’s last visit to WHO/Europe as Director-General, with her final term set to end on 30 June 2017. Both Dr Jakab and The Crown Princess took the opportunity to reflect on Dr Chan’s own significant contributions to global health.

“Thank you for your remarkable and authentic global leadership,” said The Crown Princess. “You have led the global community to truly understand and see that good health and well-being can aid and support so many other areas of development.”

“Your impact has been profound. Your legacy is assured,” said Dr Jakab. “As we embark on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we acknowledge your leading role in shaping these goals, building consensus towards universal health coverage, underlining the moral and economic imperative of achieving gender equity, and bringing noncommunicable diseases, health determinants, antimicrobial resistance and tuberculosis to global attention at the highest political levels.”

Each of the 3 women who shared the podium emphasized that they look forward to continued collaboration as they work towards their shared goal of a better, healthier future for all.