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NZ to host World Health Organisation meeting

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Health

13 February 2006 Media Statement

NZ to host World Health Organisation meeting

New Zealand has been confirmed as the host of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee Meeting in September 2006, Health Minister Pete Hodgson announced today.

The meeting of 37 Western Pacific member states will be the first to be held in New Zealand since 1973.

"This is a coup for New Zealand," Pete Hodgson said. "It's been nearly 40 years since we last hosted the regional meeting and it comes at a crucial moment for health authorities around the world.

"The threat of an influenza pandemic and the rapidly mounting challenge presented by obesity will both be on the agenda for the meeting. The meeting will be a chance for the entire New Zealand health community to show leadership on these important issues."

The WHO's Regional Director, Dr Shigeru Omi is visiting New Zealand next week to sign a hosting agreement with the Director General of Health, Dr Karen Poutasi.

Dr Omi has been regional director since 1999, and his career with the WHO has included being in charge of the region's Poliomyelitis Eradication Task Force. This group was instrumental in making the region polio-free by March 1997, well ahead of the year 2000 global eradication goal set by the WHO.

During his visit next week, Dr Omi will be giving a strategic presentation on the Western Pacific Regional Office's role and pandemic influenza planning. Details will be circulated in an advisory later this week.


ENDS

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