Opening of the WHO Liaison office for Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands

News release

POHNPEI, 18 August, 2010

At the opening ceremony, Dr Shin said that the new office will enhance the direct role of WHO in assisting with all of Micronesia's health challenges.

The opening ceremony was attended by the ambassadors to the Federated States of Micronesia of Australia, Japan and the United States of America, as well as other distinguished guests.

Dr. Shin said that the Country Liaison Office will be a "one-stop-shop" for interacting with WHO.

While infectious diseases continue to be a serious issue in the Pacific, other challenges have emerged. These include diabetes, obesity, heart disease, tobacco use, cancer, the need to strengthen primary health care and maternal and child health, and health threats from climate change.

The Office of the WHO Representative for the South Pacific has worked with the Micronesian nations on these issues from its base in Suva, Fiji, and has enjoyed a fruitful relationship.

WHO's first Country Liaison Officer will be Dr Boris Pavlin, who has been working in Pohnpei for the past two years on infectious disease outbreak detection and control.

Dr Shin said the new Country Liaison Office will improve the efficiency and effectiveness with which WHO works with the governments of Micronesia, toward achieving their common goal of improving the health of Pacific islanders.