DR. COLIN TUKUITONGA:
A Pacific voice for Regional Director
of the Western Pacific Region of the WHO
The Western Pacific Region: Different Challenges — Same Goals
The Western Pacific Region of the World Health Organization (WHO) is home to 1.8 billion people from a diverse array of countries. The 37 countries and areas that make up the region face a complex range of health and related challenges that require a strong, coordinated, and timely response. Although diversity within the region means challenges and responses vary from country to country, we share the same goal — better health outcomes for all.
“For the region to flourish we must work towards a future where everyone has access to quality health care.”
— dr. colin tukuitonga
The Challenges Ahead
The Western Pacific Region (WPR) is challenged both by complex health issues and the systems designed to solve them:
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and mental health issues dominate the burden of disease in the WPR; for example, NCDs are responsible for up to 75% of all deaths, and mental health disorders are the leading cause of illness. The region is also faced with a number of other serious health issues such as: infectious diseases, malnutrition, child and maternal health, and the negative impact that climate change can have on health.
Health systems in the WPR face multifaceted and inter-related challenges, including inadequate funding, chronic shortages of medicines and staff, and insufficiently skilled health care workers. In addition, the region faces policy implementation issues, including capability and capacity constraints, and a limited focus on concrete actions. The region needs strong resilient health systems that can provide care that is both of good quality and accessible to all.