24 May 2013 10:20
WINDHOEK, 24 MAY (NAMPA) - Namibia has been elected to serve on the World Health Organisation?s (WHO) governing body, the Ministry of Health and Social Services announced on Friday.
A media statement said Health Minister, Dr Richard Nchabi Kamwi joins 33 other individuals designated by WHO member states to offer technical expertise to the WHO Executive Board for the next three years.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Health Ministry, Dr Norbert Forster, has been designated as an alternate member.
Namibia will also serve on the General Committee of the World Health Assembly (WHA), which comprises 27 countries and is presided over by WHA president, Dr Shigeru Omi from Japan.
The term of office for members of the General Committee is one year.
Namibia had once before served on the WHO's Executive Board in the person of former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, after being designated by Kamwi in 2006 to represent him at the time.
On Friday this week, 12 members, including Namibia, were transmitted to the WHA to be entitled to designate a person to serve on the WHO Executive Board.
Kamwi is leading a Namibian delegation of seven people to the WHA, which ends next week.
The other countries are Albania, Andora, Argentina, Brazil, the Democratic People?s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Suriname.
Namibia and neighbouring South Africa will represent the WHO's African region, which currently consists of 46 countries.
The WHO Executive Board gives effect to the decisions and policies of the WHA, and advises and generally facilitates the work of the Assembly.
Kamwi was quoted in the statement as saying that Namibia's election to the board is exciting, but he would at the same time take it with caution due to the immense challenges facing the WHO.
He cited the disease burden facing Africa, where HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria remain a challenge; the unmet targets of the Millennium Development Goals; the Post-2015 Agenda; and how to balance the equation in addressing the stark contrasts between rich and poor nations on the continent.
Kamwi further said the fact that Namibia has been considered for election to the board two times during his term of office at the Ministry of Health and Social Services demonstrated the confidence the international community has in the country, following its exemplary health indicators.
He attributed this to the ?quality leadership by President Hifikepunye Pohamba, without whose support I would not have managed?.
The 66th WHA was opened on Monday this week in Geneva, Switzerland, and is being attended by officials from 194 Member States to review the activities of the WHO, and set new priorities for the future.
The WHA has been discussing non-communicable diseases, universal health coverage, women?s and children?s health, as well as the programme budget, administration, reform and management matters of the world health body.