Manila, Philippines, 7 October 2011—The epidemic of noncommunicable diseases will be a major focus of the World Health Organization's Regional Committee for the Western Pacific when it meets here on 10–14 October to review WHO's work and to ensure that programmes are on track. The Regional Committee is WHO's governing body in the Region.
The noncommunicable diseases – heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease – account for 80% of all deaths in the 37 countries and areas of the Western Pacific Region.
Last month, the diseases and their four shared risk factors – tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol – were the subject of a historic summit at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. More than 30 heads of state and government attended.
Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, will report to our 100 delegates, including Ministers of Health from the Region, about how WHO's work has fared over the past year and his proposals for the work going forward.
Besides the noncommunicable diseases, growing drug resistance and food safety issues will be addressed.
The Regional Committee will also discuss to progress on efforts to control dengue and to sustain malaria elimination, programmes which are threatened by the emergence of drug resistant malaria parasites. Measures to strengthen health systems and improve human resources for health will also be reviewed.
The Regional Committee, composed of health ministers or representatives from countries in the Western Pacific Region, meets once a year to review WHO's programmes and activities in the Region.