South Korean medical professor chosen new WHO Western Pacific chief

Other News Materials 22 September 2008 17:21 (UTC +04:00)

South Korean medical professor Shin Young-Soo was nominated Monday to become the next regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Asia and the Pacific, reported dpa.

The 64-year-old Shin bested two other nominees from Tonga and Malaysia during elections at the 59th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific in Manila composed of 37 countries in the region.

Shin was to replace outgoing regional director Shigeru Omi, whose term expires on January 31, 2009.

Shin said that, under his leadership, the WHO Western Pacific office will concentrate on the strengthening health systems and disease prevention and health promotion in the region.

"My overall objective remains to be the protection and promotion of health of all people in this region," he said. "I will promote strong leadership within WHO to ensure that WHO's leading role in health is recognized by partners and that work is carried out efficiently and effectively."

Shin vowed to continue "reforming and re-inventing" the WHO in order to make it more responsive to the challenges in the region, especially emerging health concerns such as pandemic influenza and climate change.

"The threat of emerging health problems and challenges remain imminent," he said. "We should mobilize the opportunities available to address these challenges, to get maximum benefit and achieve maximum outcome."

Prior to his nomination as WHO regional director for the Western Pacific office, Shin was a professor at the College of Medicine at Seoul National University.