Duque elected head of WHO Western Pacific panel

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    AMID controversies hounding him, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has been elected chairman of the 71st session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Western Pacific.

    In a statement, the DOH said Duque will serve a one-year term in the committee which is composed of representatives of the 37 member-states of the WHO Western Pacific Region, and who elect the chairman and vice chairman every year.

    Elected vice chairman for the 71st session was Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, Minister of Health and Medical Services of Fiji.

    The committee meets annually to formulate policies, provide oversight for regional programs, report on the progress of their projects, and consider, revise and endorse new initiatives.

    The DOH said resolutions and decisions adopted during the session will guide the work of the Regional and Country Offices for 2021.

    The agenda for the 71st Session include the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization, ageing and health, safe and affordable surgical interventions, and the program budget for 2022-2023.

    Duque, in a message during the opening session held virtually on Tuesday, said, “The circumstances in which we meet this year are very different from last year when we came together to endorse the For the Future vision.”

    “Thank you for your continued commitment in implementing that vision in the time of COVID-19, as we work together to adjust to a ‘new normal’ and create a new future,” he added.

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