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October 18 2023
Credit: WHO

The Pacific Community (SPC) congratulates Honourable Dr Saia Ma’u Piukala for being elected as the next Regional Director for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Western Pacific Region. It is a historical event as he will be the first Regional Director from the Pacific since 1948.

The 74th session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific is held in Manila, Philippines, from 16-20 October, during which Honourable Dr Piukala was elected by Ministers of Health.

Dr Paula Vivili, Deputy Director General for SPC, attended the Regional Committee Meeting and congratulated Honourable Dr Piukala.

This is a significant achievement for Pacific Health. The Western Pacific region has its own unique health challenges, and we are confident in Honourable Dr Piukala and his leadership to strengthen primary health care and contribution to improving universal health coverage”.

Honourable Dr Piukala is a Member of Parliament and Minister for Health in the Kingdom of Tonga and joined politics in 2014. Prior to this, he was a surgeon and the Medical Superintendent for Vailoa Hospital. He has 30 years of experience working in Tonga and across the Pacific. He is the current Chair of the Pacific Health Ministers Meeting and has been the Vice-Chair of the Regional Committee Meeting as well as having been a member of the Executive Board of the WHO.

Honourable Dr Piukala will take office as the WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific on 1 February 2024 for a five-year term.

For more information on the 74th session of the WHO Regional Committee, click here