Next month, Australia will host the 68th session of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific (RCM68).
Held annually, RCM68 will be the first time Australia has hosted the event since 1997.
More than 300 people from 37 countries and areas are expected to come to Brisbane for this important event, which will run from 9-13 October.
Bringing together health ministers and senior officials from 37 countries and areas, the WHO Regional Committee is the key decision-making body which shapes the organisation’s crucially important work to improve the lives of the nearly 1.9 billion people in our region.
Our region is one of the WHO’s most diverse. It includes the world’s most populous country, China, small Pacific island states, and some of the world’s least developed countries and fastest growing economies.
As a global and regional health leader, Australia will play an important role in identifying priorities and helping to shape work in the region. Australia has long been an active and influential player within the WHO, and a leader on health issues in the region.
As the host of the RCM68, the meeting is also an opportunity to share relevant learnings of Australia’s world-class health system with our neighbours.
Previous meetings have discussed how to:
• Improve planning and preparedness for health outbreaks, disaster or health emergencies;
• Prevent and control mosquito borne diseases such as Zika, malaria and reducing the impact of dengue on communities; and
• Build climate-resilient health systems in the Pacific, including early warning systems.
I look forward to welcoming so many fellow health ministers and key health decision makers, including Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific and the newly elected WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who will be visiting Australia for the first time in his new role.
RCM68 will be hosted at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.