Representatives from 37 states elected Health Secretary Francisco Duque III as the new chairperson of the World Health Organization Regional Committee for Western Pacific on Tuesday. High on the group's agenda: COVID-19.
Duque will serve as chairperson for a term of one year. Because of the pandemic and travel restrictions, regional leaders will meet for an online session on Oct. 6 to 9 to discuss COVID-19 matters and the program budget for 2022 to 2023.
Duque will preside over the entire session of the regional committee, the DOH said.
The regional committee meets annually to "formulate policies, provide oversight for regional programmes, report on the progress of their projects, and consider, revise and endorse new initiatives," the DOH said in a statement. Any resolutions and decisions adopted during the session will lead the goals and work of regional and country offices for the following year.
This year's agenda centers around the novel coronavirus, which has reached almost all teritorries globally and has claimed over a million lives. Other issues such as vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization, ageing and health, and safe and affordable surgical interventions will also be on the table for discussion.
"The circumstances in which we meet this year are very different from last year when we came together to endorse the For the Future vision. Thank you for your continued commitment in implementing that vision in the time of COVID-19, as we work together to adjust to a "new normal" and create a new future," Duque said.