Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the Western Pacific Regional Office director of the World Health Organization, will be visiting the CNMI this Friday, Nov. 1 to talk about the CNMI and the Commonwealth Health Care Corp.’s goals and priorities on health in the CNMI.
According to CHCC spokesperson Zoe Travis, Kasai will also kick off the CNMI’s Emergency Medical Team training facilitated by the WHO. She confirmed that it will be the first time a WHO regional director will visit the CNMI and that CHCC looks forward to his visit.
Kasai was nominated as regional director by the member states of the Western Pacific during the regional committee meeting in October 2018 and his appointment was confirmed by the WHO executive board on Jan. 26, 2019.
According to WHO, Kasai intends to reinforce support in three key areas that member states have identified as priorities for the future: health security, non-communicable diseases and aging, and environmental and climate change.
Last Oct. 8, health ministers and senior officials representing the 37 countries and areas of the WHO-WPRO agreed on priorities for WHO’s work in the region in the next five years, with the goal of making the Western Pacific the world’s healthiest and safest region.
Issues such as fighting antimicrobial resistance, reducing smoking, eliminating measles and rubella, tackling the human immunodeficiency virus, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections, assessing progress on the strategy to end tuberculosis, addressing non-communicable diseases and improving mental health, and implementing action for healthy newborns were discussed during a WHO conference in Manila.
Kasai has worked for WHO for more than 15 years, serving as director of program management for the past four years and serving as deputy to the regional director before being appointed. He also served as the WHO representative for Vietnam from 2012 to 2014 and was honored with Vietnam’s “For the People’s Health” medal in 2014 for his significant contributions to public health in Vietnam.
The CNMI, Guam, and American Samoa all fall under the responsibility of the U.S., as it is part of the WHO’s Pacific Region.
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Its primary role is to direct international health within the UN’s system and to lead partner in global health responses.