HEALTH MINISTERS and other senior officials from 30 countries voted on Tuesday in Manila for the next head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO), with Japanese Dr. Takeshi Kasai as the nominee.
Mr. Kasai’s name will be submitted for appointment to the 114th session of the WHO Executive Board, scheduled January 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland, according to a WHO statement released yesterday.
The new regional director will take office on February 1 for a term of five years. Regional directors may serve up to two terms.
The Japanese government announced last April that it nominated Mr. Kasai as the country’s representative among the candidates for the WHO WPRO post.
Prior to his nomination, he was WHO Director of Programme Management and Deputy to the Regional Director of WPRO.
Mr. Kasai’s public health career has spanned 28 years, including 15 years with WHO beginning in 2000, working as a medical officer for the WHO WPRO. In 2003, he became WHO director of office, International Affairs Division, Ministry of Health and Labour and Welfare in Japan until 2004.
“Dr. Kasai has a strong conviction that health as human right and as the foundation for peace requires strong commitments by all stakeholders including national and local governments, as well as international organizations such as WPRO. He has been deeply committed to the work of WHO through his 15-year career,” his profile reads.
Incumbent WPRO Regional Director Dr. Shin Young-soo welcomed the nomination of Mr. Kasai.
“I warmly congratulate and sincerely wish Dr Kasai the very best as the next Regional Director,” Mr. Shin said in a statement on Tuesday.
“When he takes the reins in February, he will inherit a strong and robust Organization, and the honour of working with a diverse group of countries joined by a formidable bond of solidarity and an unwavering commitment to delivering better health for all.” — Gillian M. Cortez