Reducing health inequities, building better lives

Regional Director Shin’s field visits to Western China

June 2013

WHO China

The World Health Organization and the National Health and Family Planning Commission launched the Western Area Health Initiative in July 2012 to help the people in western China to lead longer and healthier lives.

In December 2012 and again in February 2013, the WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Dr Shin Young-soo, and the WHO Representative in China, Dr Michael O'Leary, conducted a series of field visits to the three target regions of Shaanxi Province, Chongqing Municipality, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to select priority interventions for the most vulnerable populations.

"WHO has the opportunity to work directly at the community level with provincial governments to address people's health needs," Dr Shin said. "We are eager to meet the challenges. China and WHO will work closely together to ensure that all Chinese citizens, especially the most disadvantaged and those living in rural and remote areas, have access to essential health care."

Dr Shin and Dr O'Leary visited families in rural areas, went to village clinics and county hospitals, talked with rural doctors and exchanged thoughts with provincial officials. These first-hand field trips, followed by discussions with central and provincial senior officials, shaped the 2013-2015 workplan for the Western Area Health Initiative.