Closing Remarks of Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific at the 21st Meeting of the TAG on Immunization and Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in the WPR

Manila, Philippines
23 August 2012

DISTINGUISHED PARTICIPANTS,
COLLEAGUES,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

As the 21st meeting of TAG on Immunization and Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in the Western Pacific Region draws to a close, I would like to thank everyone for their efforts.

By making recommendations from inputs from Member States, technical experts and stakeholders, TAG helps protect the children in the Region from preventable diseases.

The Region is poised to achieve the 2012 disease control targets — a milestone that prevents countless deaths and disabilities.

However, critical challenges remain.

Interrupting endemic measles transmission requires political commitment and resources. In the remaining months of 2012 and through 2013, urgent actions must be taken to close immunization and surveillance gaps.

Remarkable progress has been made in reducing chronic hepatitis B infection in children. Your discussions this week should help to reach a consensus as soon as possible regarding a target year for hepatitis B control.

China’s recent experience with imported wild poliovirus clearly demonstrates that every Member State must ensure they are capable of rapid detection of poliovirus and prepared to respond.

I urge Member States to continue working to improve immunization services, particularly those targeting underserved communities. They must also expand the use of new and underutilized vaccines, and continue to build capacity to make certain vaccines are safe and available.

Your commitment and contribution to promoting health in the Region through vaccination is evident.

Such commitments not only contribute to meeting local, national and regional goals, but also help achieve MDG 4 by reducing childhood mortality and MDG 5 by improving maternal and child health by increasing access to vaccination and care.

I look forward to seeing your recommendations in action in programmes across the Region.

In closing, I would like to thank TAG, country delegates, as well as the many diverse and essential partners for their contributions to this meeting and continued hard work.

I wish you a safe journey home and success in your endeavours.

Thank you.

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