PH Elected as First Vice President of the 71st World Health Assembly 

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DOH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III sits as one of the five (5) Vice Presidents of the 71st World Health Assembly. (Geneva PM photo)

GENEVA 24 May 2018 — Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III has been elected as first Vice President of the 71st World Health Assembly, representing the Western Pacific Region, the DFA announced today.

The Health Assembly is the largest international health platform where government officials, policy makers, Non-governmental organizations, and members of the academe chart the course of global health as nations move towards the achievement of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals.

The DFA said this is Secretary Duque’s second term as Secretary of Health, and also his second term as Vice President of the Health Assembly. The President of the Assembly is Zimbabwe from the African Region. Four other vice Presidents of the Assembly were elected representing the four other regions of the World Health Organization.  

As Vice President of the Assembly and member of the General Committee, Secretary Duque will play a role in determining the agenda of the Assembly in this critical year as countries debate on pressing issues such as antimicrobial resistance, shortage of, and access to medicines and vaccines, WHO’s work on emergencies, and maternal, infant and young child nutrition.

This year’s Health Assembly also coincides with the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the WHO.  In the past seven decades, the WHO, together with the Health Assembly, has eradicated the deadly smallpox, increased life expectancy by 25 years, and today, are in the verge of eradicating the debilitating disease of polio.

Many countries have successfully eliminated measles, malaria and debilitating tropical diseases like guinea worm and elephantiasis, as well as mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. Innovative partnerships have produced effective vaccines against meningitis and Ebola, as well as the world’s first ever malaria vaccine.

“As the Health Assembly celebrates these successes, we continue to work towards a healthier future. This year’s theme of “Universal Health Coverage: everyone, everywhere” displays the global health community’s commitment in ensuring a healthier future for the world’s population,” Secretary Duque said. 

“The Philippine Delegation is proud to play a key role in the global health discourse and decision making as it pushes for global health initiatives in ensuring health for all.  The Philippines is chair of the Digital Health Resolution and is co-sponsors of resolutions on snakebite and side events on Antimicrobial resistance and child nutrition,” the Secretary added.

The 71st World Health Assembly runs from 21-26 May 2018 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. END

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