Dr. Shigeru Omi: Leading International Health Care Authority

DR. Shigeru Omi serves as the Regional Director for the WHO Western Pacific Region. He effectively eradicated polio in the Western Pacific Region, and worked to strengthen a cooperative system of taking preventive measures against new and revived infectious diseases.

Dr. Shigeru Omi was born in Tokyo in 1949 and currently lives in Manila.
Dr. Omi is the Regional Director for the WHO Western Pacific Region, originally appointed in 1999 and reappointed in 2004. Dr. Omi’s remarkable achievements include taking preventive measures against infectious diseases such as the Polio, SARS and the Bird Flu. In 2006, he ran for Director- General for WHO, but he was defeated by Dr. Margaret Chan who was nominated from China.

In 2000, WHO announced the eradication of Polio followed by verification of the end of protoroph Polio in the Western Pacific Region (37 countries including Japan, Korea, China, Vetnam, Cambodia and Laos) under Dr. Omi’s leader ship.
Dr. Omi directed the administering of the enlargement vaccinations (BCG, DPT, measles, Polio) throughout the Western Pacific Region. Japan supplied the necessary vaccinations for Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mongolia and Papua New Guinea.  Dr. Omi played an instrumental role in soliciting financial assistance from UNICEF, America, Australia and other international organizations.

Dr. Omi now concentrates mainly on the control of infectious disease such as tuberculosis. According to the WHO though 2004, 774 people had died of SARS compared to 3 million who die yearly as a result of TB (300,000 under the age of 15). TB infects approximately 2billion people or 1/3 of the world’s population, with 8million new cases each year.
A staggering 99% of the population in Third World countries has TB. TB ranks as the number one cause of death amongst independent pathogenic agent. Dr. Omi’s goal is to reduce the mortality rate by half by the year 2010.

Other objectives of Dr. Omi include the “healthy city project, strengthening of the health and medical system, and lastly, the establishment of “human medical study”. In Japan, medical care somewhat mechanical and approached largely from the biological and scientific side. Dr. Omi would like to see WHO take the psychological and emotional aspects more into account. This is his what he refers to as “human medical study”.