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Press Release

Korea to lead discussion on health issues in the Western Pacific Region

  • Date : 2019-10-10
  • Hit : 400

Korea to lead discussion on health issues in the Western Pacific Region
Korea nominated as Member State of the WHO Executive Board in 2020

□ The Ministry of Health and Welfare (Minister: Park Neunghoo) announced that Korea will serve as the Chair at the 70th Session of the Regional Committee Meeting (RCM) for the Western Pacific Region held in Manila, Philippines on Oct 7-11.

○ The RCM is the most important health meeting in the Western Pacific Region attended by Ministers and Vice Ministers of 37 Western Pacific countries to discuss the design, implementation, and assessment of health projects while promoting cooperation between countries.

□ Minister Park Neunghoo, head delegate of Korea, became the first Minister in Korea to serve as a chair at the RCM.

○ Minister Park delivered keynote remarks and mentioned that the RCM will discuss achievements and future direction of various agendas including tobacco policies, ageing and health, health security, and infectious diseases while reviewing project plans and budget.

○ Minister Park also emphasized that, at the side event at this year’s World Health Assembly, countries reached a consensus on the importance of ensuring access to medicine through encouraging innovative R&D and reasonable pricing based on international coordination.

○ On note of this, Minister Park welcomed ‘Policy and Governance of Medical Products’ as the agenda for the following RCM and highlighted that universal health coverage can be achieved by enhancing access to medicine.

□ Meanwhile, the informal meeting to nominate a member (1) to serve at the WHO Executive Board was held on October 9th.

* The member will be determined at the 2020 World Health Assembly and the term will begin on May.

○ The WHO Executive Board consists of 34 countries (3 year term), which includes 5 countries (Japan, Australia, China, Singapore, Tonga) in the Western Pacific region.

* Term of Western Pacific countries as of September 2019: Japan (2017-2020), Australia (2018-2021), China (2018-2021), Singapore (2019-2022), Tonga (2019-2022)

○ Malaysia and Mongolia also expressed interest in the seat following the expiry of Japan’s term next year, but at the informal meeting, countries reached an agreement to support Korea as the member of the Executive Board.

□ When elected as the member of the Executive Board at the World Health Assembly scheduled at May 2020, Korea will be elected for the 7th time since it joined the WHO in 1949. As an Executive Board member, Korea is expected to play a leading role in the WHO, the most authorized international health institution, on behalf of the Western Pacific Area.

○ Member States of the Executive Board designate an individual expert technically qualified in the field of health, who participates in the biannual official Executive Board meeting.

* Former Executive Board Members of Korea: Lee Yongseung (1960-1963), Former Chief of the Health Office of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs; Lee Seongwoo (1984-1987), Former President of the National Health Institute; Shin Youngsoo (1995-1998), Former Director General of the WHO Western Pacific Regional office; Eom Youngjin (2001-2004), Former Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare; Son Myongse (2007-2010), Former President of Health Insurance Review&Assessment Service(HIRA); Jeon Manbok (2013-2016), Former Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare

○ With the seat at the Executive Board, Korea will be able to better reflect its priorities and improve coordination with domestic policies in addressing world health issues and building policies.

□ Minister Park added, the fact that Korea serves as the Chair and at the Executive Board shows the high expectation of the Regional Office and Member States for Korea to play a bigger role in addressing health issues facing the Western Pacific region.

○ He added that Korea will take a leading role in addressing the region’s health issues to meet the expectation of the WHO and the international community.

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