Regional Director's visits to Japan and the Republic of Korea

18 to 24 November 2010

Dr Shin meets with Health Minister of China, Korea and Japan

It was a busy two weeks for Regional Director Dr Shin Young-soo. In November, Dr Shin visited the three WHO collaborating centres housed in Nagasaki University, Japan. They were the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Tropical and Emerging Virus Diseases, the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research on Radiation-induced Thyroid Diseases and Surgical Treatment of Radiation Injuries, and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health.

During the visit, Dr Shin paid a courtesy call on Dr Shigeru Katamine, president of Nagasaki University, and had an informal discussion on the status of communicable diseases control in the Western Pacific Region. The two also discussed future collaboration between Western Pacific Regional Office and the collaborating centers.

During the visit, Dr Shin paid a courtesy call on Dr Shigeru Katamine, president of Nagasaki University, and had an informal discussion on the status of communicable diseases control in the Western Pacific Region. The two also discussed future collaboration between Western Pacific Regional Office and the collaborating centers.

Dr Shin visits a patient at Sorokdo Hospital

Dr Shin then travelled to Jeju, Republic of Korea, to attend the 4th Tripartite Health Ministers Meeting. The meeting brought together the Health Ministers of China (Dr Chen Zhu), Korea (Dr Chin Soo-hee) and Japan (Mr Ritsuo Hosokawa).

Participants discussed pandemic influenza, food safety, clinical research, emergency preparedness and response, and cooperation on achieving the health-related MDGs.

Dr Shin expressed his gratitude to the three governments for their contribution to heath-related MDGs. He stressed that he is fully committed to making MDGs one of his priorities, ensuring that WHO serves as the core agency for those efforts.

Dr Shin also delivered a keynote speech at the 2010 World Forum on Hansen's disease, commonly known as leprosy.

At the forum, the Regional Director once again reiterated his personal mission to see that leprosy is banished from this region before his term of office ends. "WHO will intensify country-specific activities and improve coordination with partner organizations, as well as local volunteer groups," Dr Shin said. "We will deploy additional staff wherever necessary to fight Hansen’s disease and work towards integration with general health care services."

Dr Shin visited the government-managed Sorokdo National Hospital on Sorok Island. The hospital specializes in providing treatment and care to patients affected by Hansen's disease. Dr Shin said he was impressed by the individualized care, the great effort to ensure patients' welfare and the extensive network of volunteers.

Some 600 people are affected by leprosy on Sorok Island, of whom 134 are in the hospital, with the others as outpatients.

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