Regional Director Shin praises China's commitment to health

WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-soo visited China recently for high-level talks on WHO–China collaboration.

Dr Shin joined WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan for her presentation on 18 July of a Director-General's Special Recognition Certificate for tobacco control to China's Health Minister Chen Zhu.

"Minister Chen Zhu has shown his strong will to protect people from this lethal product," Dr Shin said during the award ceremony.

Every year on World No Tobacco Day (31 May), WHO recognizes up to 36 individuals and institutions for their contributions to tobacco control.

Health Minister Chen Zhu, Director-General of the World Health Organization Dr Margaret Chan, and WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-soo at the launch of the Western Area Health Initiative

Later in the day, Dr Shin launched the Western Area Health Initiative by signing a memorandum of understanding with Health Ministry officials and high-level representatives from Shaanxi Province, Chongqing Municipality, and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The initiative is a major step in WHO's work and relationship with China.

"The western provinces continue to face the double burden of communicable and noncommunicable diseases," Dr Shin said. "Today, we are seeing another strong commitment from the health minister and leaders from three provinces to improve the health of the people."

The Western Area Health Initiative is the Ministry of Health and WHO’s first comprehensive collaboration focused on western China.

"The Western Area Health Initiative will help address many of these challenges, through strategies and action-oriented plans designed to reduce health inequities and to improve the lives of those in the poorest and most vulnerable communities," Dr Shin said.

The initiative will also address factors that pose serious health threats, such as access to clean water and adequate sanitation, food safety and the problem of nutritional deficiencies.

"We are pleased to have this opportunity to work more closely with the Chinese Government, the Ministry of Health and, very importantly at the community level, directly with provincial governments," Dr Shin said. "In partnership with you, we will be directing WHO's attention and resources to this initiative, making our work in China more focused and more effective."

During his visit of 18 to 20 July, Dr Shin visited the National Institute for Food and Drug Control and the China National Health Development Research Center. He also met with Dr Yin Li, Commissioner of State Food and Drug Administration, and Dr Sun Zhigang, Vice-Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission.

In addition, Dr Shin accompanied Dr Chan for her meetings with Vice-Premier Li Keqiang and Vice-President Xi Jinping.

For more information, please contact:

Helen Yu
Communications Officer
WHO China Office
Tel: +86 10 65327191 ext 81275