World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Puleleiite Dr. Shin Young-soo, arrived in Samoa yesterday.
Puleleiite is in the country to bolster the commitment to assist countries in achieving universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The chief from Lalomalava met with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama, Speaker of Parliament Leaupepe Taimaaiono Toleafoa Faafisi and members of the Samoa Parliament Advocacy Group on Healthy Living (S.P.A.G.H.L.).
He also met with senior officials to discuss the achievement of health programmes to tackle noncommunicable diseases (N.C.Ds) and ways to strengthen primary health care.
Puleleiite is also scheduled to visit PEN Fa’a Samoa demonstration sites in Upolu and Savai’i.
There, he will talk with government officials and village people to review the programme’s progress and encourage further development.
PEN Fa’a Samoa is a community-based N.C.D early detection and management programme that was adapted from W.H.O’s Package of Essential N.C.D (P.E.N) interventions to reflect the traditional Samoan way of life, Fa’a Samoa.
The programme was launched in 2014 with the high-level commitment of the W.H.O Regional Director and Samoa’s Minister of Health and has successfully been demonstrated in seven villages so far.
Through PEN Fa’a Samoa, significant numbers of Samoan people are screened for N.C.D risk factors, and those who are referred to health facilities often return to their villages to raise awareness of the importance of healthy living.
W.H.O advocates the use of primary health care and public health strategies to build health system capacity to address N.C.Ds and their risk factors.
Health care provided in villages and health facilities should be linked to facilitate people-centred, coordinated care, and should be carried out in conjunction with national- and district-level public health interventions aimed at tobacco cessation, reducing alcohol, sugar and salt consumption, and encouraging physical activities.
A bottom-up approach is needed to address people’s health demand in combination with community engagement and participation, which is a core component of primary health care in Samoa.
A health information system is important to monitor and evaluate the progress of health policies and programmes, to assess the health status of the population, and to improve the quality and efficiency of health services.
W.H.O. has supported the Ministry of Health in developing the eHealth Policy and Strategy, and actively cooperated with key development partners including Asian Development Bank and D.F.A.T of Australia. Dr Shin will re-emphasize that well-coordinated teamwork is essential to implement the multimillion, multiphased eHealth project, for which W.H.O is happy to continue providing necessary technical assistance.
Finally, Dr. Shin will visit the village of Lalomalava in Savai’i, where he was awarded an honorary matai name.
Dr. Shin Young-soo became the World Health Organization's Regional Director for the Western Pacific in February 2009.
Dr. Shin is the first Regional Director for the Western Pacific to come from outside of WHO. He was nominated at the September 2008 session of the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, and confirmed by the Organization's Executive Board in Geneva in January 2009. He ran unopposed for a second five-year term and was confirmed again in January 2014.
From his first day at the helm, Dr Shin pledged to put countries at the centre of the work of WHO in the Region. He has led a series of reforms to change the way the Organization works. His focus has been constant: providing better support focused on needs at the country level. These reforms are producing results by helping Member States to achieve better health outcomes for the nearly 1.9 billion people of the Western Pacific Region.
Before becoming Regional Director, Dr Shin had a longstanding connection with WHO. He had undertaken more than 30 assignments with the Organization as an adviser and consultant, serving several times on the Executive Board as the representative of the Republic of Korea.
Prior to joining WHO, Dr Shin was a professor of Health Policy and Management at the College of Medicine, Seoul National University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1969.
Dr. Shin was born in Seoul on 15 October 1943. He is married with three children and four grandchildren.