1.17- Kobe reminds us again of the importance of disaster preparedness

WHO Kobe Centre

On January 17, the local and international community commemorated the 22nd anniversary of the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake. Kobe/Hyogo demonstrated to the world how to recover and rebuild with vitality after a disaster using the concept of “creative reconstruction.”

The annual ceremony was held in HAT Kobe where international agencies and national/local institutes for disaster management and preparedness create a global information and innovation hub: WHO Kobe Centre, UNISDR, UNOCHA, International Recovery Platform, Disaster Reduction Institute, Hyogo Earthquake Memorial 21st Century Research Institute and others.

The WKC Director, Alex Ross, attended the ceremony representing WHO paying respect. Mr Ross noted “The efforts of Kobe and Hyogo constantly remind us of the need to be prepared for disasters and emergencies, and the essential role of engaging communities.”

WHO's Year in Review for 2016

Collage of six photos: woman with lymphatic filariasis, child with yellow fever vaccination card, young boy with leprosy medication, a baby having her head measures due to microcephaly, a health worker receiving package in Syria, and a nurse smiling

2016 has been a turbulent year, in which WHO has tackled disease outbreaks and humanitarian crises and championed efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance and move towards universal health coverage. It has helped countries eliminate infectious diseases and implement programmes to beat cancer, diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases.

It was also a special year for Japan and its leadership on global health, and for WKC. The G7 Ise-Shima Summit and Vision for Global Health; the G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting in Kobe; and the sixth TICAD meeting in Africa all provided momentum for UHC, for paying special attention to the needs of ageing populations, and for ensuring global health security. WKC launched its new 10 year strategy (2016-2026), major new research, and organized key WHO-MHLW side meetings to the G7 Health Ministers meeting and for the G7 Summit preparation.

Dr Halfdan T. Mahler, WHO’s third Director-General, dies at 93

Dr Halfdan, smiling in his office

WHO is saddened by the death of Dr Halfdan T. Mahler on 14 December 2016. Dr Mahler served as Director-General of WHO from 1973-1988.

As WHO's third Director-General, Dr Mahler will be remembered as a champion for primary care. He played a key leadership role shaping the 1978 Alma Ata Declaration that defined the Health for All by the Year 2000 strategy. Under his leadership, WHO and UNICEF jointly produced the report, Alternative Approaches to Meeting Basic Health Needs in Developing Countries, which examined successful primary health care in various countries.

After retiring from WHO in 1988, Dr Mahler directed the International Planned Parenthood Federation until 1995. Even after his retirement from WHO, Dr Mahler cheered the Organization’s progress as it expanded its work in primary care. He will be deeply missed by the global health community.

Act with Ambition: Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day 2016

12 December 2016 – UHC means that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. On 12 December 2016, for the UHC Day, WHO and partners will demand political action from leaders to invest in policies and health systems that reach every person and community based on need, and not ability to pay.

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