World Health Day 2013

Honouring a leader, controlling high blood pressure

April 2013

Julie Simon

On 8 April 2013, the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific in Manila, Philippines, observed World Health Day with Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of other United Nations agencies. World Health Day marks the entry into force of WHO's constitution in 1948. Regional Director Dr Shin Young-soo recognized President Aquino for his outstanding leadership in public health, citing his tax reforms to generate resources for universal health coverage and his position on reproductive health.

The theme of World Health Day 2013 was high blood pressure, a condition that afflicts 37% of adults in the Western Pacific Region and is implicated in many of the strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases that account for more than half of noncommunicable-disease deaths in the Region. "Public policy needs to address high blood pressure," Dr Shin said. "If it doesn't then we won't be able to adequately address the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases that accounts for 80% of the deaths in our Region."

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