Dr Shin promotes health professions education in Korea

Seoul National University
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-soo, and other delegates unveil the JW LEE Centre for Global Medicine marker at Seoul National University, College of Medicine.

Regional Director Dr Shin Young-soo was on hand as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon introduced his five-point health agenda to the Korean people at Seoul National University on 13 August.

Both Dr Shin and Mr Ban were in the Republic of Korea for the launch of the JW LEE Centre for Global Medicine at the university's College of Medicine. The late Dr Jong-wook Lee was the immediate past Director-General of the World Health Organization and a graduate of the medical college.

"During my second five-year term [as Secretary-General], we will wipe out five major killers – malaria, measles, polio, maternal and neonatal tetanus and HIV infection from mother-to-child transmission," Mr Ban told Dr Shin and the assembled medical students and professors, repeating a pledge he had made in January with the release of his five-year "action agenda".

Mr Ban stressed the importance of achieving the Millennium Development Goals related to maternal and child health.

"Every day, nearly 800 women die in pregnancy or childbirth, and twenty thousand young children under five years of age die," the UN Secretary-General said. "The endowment provided by the Group of Eight leaders amounting to US$ 40 billion will be used to achieve the goals of the health initiative during my term."

Speaking in his native Korean, Mr Ban also emphasized the importance of multisectoral action to control the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases – including heart attacks, strokes, cancers, chronic pulmonary diseases and diabetes – which account for 63% of the world's deaths. He also urged increased investment to control such neglected tropical diseases as leprosy and lymphatic filariasis.

Earlier in the day, Dr Shin and a representative of the Seoul National University signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in the education of future health-care professionals in the Region.

Speaking at the launch of the medical college's Regional Educational Development Centre of Health Professionals, he urged Western Pacific countries to train and educate health professionals to further improve health-care systems in the Region.

"Many countries have difficulty with education in the health professions and need developed countries' help," Dr Shin said in his native Korean. "It will be very helpful to share Korea's experience with them."