DESPITE the recent change in leadership of the World Health Organization (WHO)-Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO), the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, March 10, 2023, expressed confidence that the country’s relationship with the international agency will not be affected.

In a brief statement, the DOH believes that its relationship with the WHO-WPRO will remain the same, particularly on the numerous joint programs and projects.

“The Department of Health assures the public that the recent event will not affect the country’s coordination with WHO,” said the DOH.

“The DOH has unwavering confidence in our regional capacity to cohesively address the challenges we are currently experiencing,” it added.

Similarly, the health department expressed confidence that the WHO-WPRO will be able to identify a capable leader to succeed Regional Director Dr. Takeshi Kasai.

“The Philippine government is confident that the most competent and able candidate (will) take the role,” it said.

“We are certain that the leader, who shall head the organization, will continuously ensure the flow of collaborative programs and efforts towards improving our healthcare systems and the people’s welfare,” added the DOH.

On Wednesday, the WHO sacked Kasai after an internal probe found him liable for misconduct, racism and unethical behavior.

WHO Deputy Director General Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab has been tapped as WHO-WPRO acting regional director.

A new WHO-WPRO director is set to take office on February 1, 2024 after the expected appointment by the WHO Executive Board in January 2024. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)