Denmark's Crown Princess Mary, currently on a visit in Vilnius, urged the international community on Monday to be more active with vaccination programs and shift the focus to women's safety.
Denmark's Crown Princess Mary
© Stella Pictures

Speaking at a session of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Regional Committee For Europe, the member of the Danish Royal family emphasized that vaccines had saved “millions of lives” over the past 50 years and significantly reduced the burden for healthcare systems and societies in fighting measles, rubella virus, diphtheria and other communicable diseases.

"It was heart-braking to see the devastating effects that can be prevented from such a disease. Polio can be, ant we all hope, will soon be a thing of the past. The confirmation only a few days ago on cases of polio in Ukraine, and the reappearance of polio after 13 years absence unequivocally underlines how essential it is to maintain the high vaccination coverage," the crown princess said on Monday.

"Anxieties about vaccine safety are often underpinned by misinformation," she added.

In her speech, Crown Princess Mary also noted the challenges in connection to domestic violence, which still affects many women and girls, stressing that the laws defending women often stall.

"The data from several countries in our region indicate that one in five women have been victims of domestic violence. Globally, we have seen to little progress in this area over the past 20 years," she said in Vilnius.

The crown princess applauded the evolution in the thinking about health, when earlier priorities of curing diseases are being replaced with the aim of maintaining good public health.

She accentuated the problem of obesity of children and teenagers, which has to be solved by banning unhealthy food in schools and political decisions against aggressive marketing aimed at youth.

At the session of WHO Regional Committee for Europe held in Vilnius until Thursday, about 400 WHO experts and politicians from 53 countries in the European region will discuss and decide on physical activity, anti-smoking and women's health policies, also discussing challenges of WHO reforms and interinstitutional cooperation.

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