Former Health Undersecretary Appointed as WHO Director for Program Management in Western Pacific Region

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Former Health undersecretary Dr. Susan Pineda-Mercado has made history by becoming the first Filipino to assume the second highest position in a World Health Organization (WHO) region. Her appointment as the WHO Director for Program Management in the Western Pacific region was announced by WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr. Saia Ma’u Piukala of Tonga.

Dr. Mercado’s appointment has been met with praise and excitement. Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa expressed his congratulations, stating that she deserves the honor of this appointment. He also commended Dr. Piukala for choosing her as his deputy, highlighting her ability to deliver for the health of all people in the Western Pacific region.

Dr. Mercado’s extensive experience in the field of public health makes her a highly qualified candidate for this position. With over 30 years of experience in public health practice, policies, systems, and field operations, she has held leadership positions at both national and international levels. Notably, she has spent 15 years at the senior management level within the WHO.

Her contributions to the healthcare sector in the Philippines are commendable. At the largest tertiary care hospital in the country, Dr. Mercado played a crucial role in establishing the first hospital-based day care center. This center provided child care services for both hospital patients and healthcare workers, demonstrating her commitment to a people-centered approach in healthcare.

Dr. Mercado’s dedication to improving public health extends beyond her work in hospitals and healthcare facilities. She has also been actively involved in civil society organizations. In 1990-1992, she served as the president of the Green Coalition, the first health and environment non-governmental organization in the Philippines. The organization focused on addressing the impact of environmental degradation on health in the country.

Furthermore, Dr. Mercado served as the medical director of the Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko Foundation from 1990 to 2000. This non-profit organization utilized health communications through television to mobilize private sector support for indigent patients and community-based health projects. Her work with this foundation aimed to promote health equity and improve access to healthcare for marginalized communities.

Dr. Mercado’s appointment as the WHO Director for Program Management in the Western Pacific region is a testament to her expertise and dedication to public health. Her vast experience and leadership skills make her well-suited for this important role. As the first Filipino to hold such a position in a WHO region, she serves as an inspiration to aspiring healthcare professionals in the Philippines and beyond.

In conclusion, Dr. Susan Pineda-Mercado’s appointment as the WHO Director for Program Management in the Western Pacific region is a significant achievement for both her and the Philippines. Her extensive experience in public health, leadership positions, and dedication to improving healthcare make her a valuable asset to the WHO. We congratulate Dr. Mercado on this well-deserved appointment and look forward to the positive impact she will make in the Western Pacific region.

Source: The Manila Times

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