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Prof Soonman Kwon, Director of World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Health System and Financing, was invited to attend the Seventieth Regional Committee Meeting (RCM) of WHO South-East Asia Region (SEAR), the annual meeting of health ministers of WHO South-East Asia Region with about a quarter of the global population, hosted by Maldives from 6-10 September 2017. WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom and Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh addressed the meeting. Health officials from Member States and representatives of partner organizations also attended the meeting and discussed a set of important agenda items in the Region such as strengthening primary health care and the health workforce and progress towards universal health coverage, making health systems resilient to climate change, improving access to essential medicines for all, and putting more efforts to end tuberculosis.


‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and progress towards universal health coverage (UHC)’ was one of the key agenda items for the RCM of WHO SEAR; it had two sub items: i) strengthening primary health care and the health workforce, and ii) annual progress monitoring of UHC and SDGs. During the session, Prof Soonman Kwon presented ‘Progress towards UHC: key lessons on organizing and financing primary health care from across Asia’ as a panel of experts. The list of the presentations by experts is as follows:


·       Making primary health care and health workers fit for the future: why it can’t be business as usual

Dr Susie Perera, Director Organization Development, Ministry of Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine, Sri Lanka

·       Progress towards UHC: key lessons on organizing and financing primary health care from across Asia

Professor Soonman Kwon, School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Korea

·       Making primary health care and health workers fit for the future: how can development agencies’ support change?

Dr Eduardo Banzon, Senior Health Specialist, Asian Development Bank

·       How can regular monitoring help accelerate progress on UHC and the SDGs?

Dr Viroj Tangcharoensathien, IHPP Thailand

·       How can development agencies support national monitoring of the health-related SDGs and UHC, to give more visibility to those being left behind?

Dr Mukesh Chawla, Adviser Health, World Bank



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