WHO commission, WHO Kobe Center and Global health


I am attending the WHO Commission for Social Determinents of Health(CSDH) held at WHO Kobe Center from the 16th. Kobe Center serves as one of the hub of CSDH and 16 Commissioners are participating this time. As I have reported in my blog about the CSDH that started in March, 2005 (BeijingVanacouverGenevaNairobi etc.) this is the 10th and will be the last conference and the final report is due in June.

Thanks to Dr.Iwao, former Chief of Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare who headed the WHO Kobe Center until December 2007, just until 2 weeks ago, for this meeting in Kobe. I’m happy that this was Dr. Kumaresan’s first big task after he newly took office in January. Former Director Dr. Iwao, new Director Dr. Kumaresan, the Governor of Hyogo Prefecture and the Mayor of Kobe attended the reception held at the night of 16th. And today, January 17th marks the 13th year of the Kobe earthquake. WHO Kobe Center was established the following year after suffering from the damage.

This is the last conference of CSDH and will be the only one held in Japan. This year, Japan will host conferences that will attract the world’s attention like the TICAD and G8 summit. Also, it is the mid year of the United Nation’s MDG(Millennium Development Goals). “Global Health” is one of the major global agenda. Last November, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koumura addressed its importance in his speech and the content was published in Lancet.

This year, Japan will attract a lot of attention from the world which will also mean that it is a year of heavy responsibility as well. Nevertheless, stock prices are dropping in the year-end through the new year and sentiments are inward-focused in a stagnant mood as usual, don’t you think?  To cope with this environment, Prime Minister Fukuda will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos in the end of this month and make a speech. There will be a policy speech tomorrow (18th),  and the Davos Meeting speech will follow,  so the staff at the Prime Minister’s office will be very busy. 

With the understanding said above, we asked the Commissioners of CSDH to come to Tokyo in the morning of the 15th to pay a courtesy call to Prime Minister Fukuda and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr.Koumura. In the afternoon, we held a global conference on “Global Health as Global Agenda” with the presence of Mr. Masuzoe, Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare. 

It was our attempt to urge the domestically focused Japanese to look at more global issues. It turned out to be very successful with about 200 enthusiastic participants. Keynote speeches and the panels were all wonderful. The Commissioners were also very happy about it. As being a member of the Commissioner myself, I was also very satisfied. Thanks to you all who have participated, the success is to your credit.