On 6 April 2017, WHO Deputy Director General, Dr Asamoa-Baah, conducted his first official visit to Kobe, including to Governor Toshizo Ido, Hyogo Prefecture, to Vice Mayor Toshiro Tamada, Kobe City, and to the WHO Kobe Centre (WKC).
In all of his visits, Dr Asamaoa-Baah noted the unique contributions of the Centre within WHO and to the local and global community. Borrowing from the term "glocal," WKC has effectively translated research and practice lessons to and from Hyogo/Kobe to the rest of the world. WKC is a testbed for innovations, which are led by its multi-disciplinary and multi-national staff. WKC’s past and present work, particularly universal health coverage, innovation, ageing, and health emergencies, were recognized.
Dr Asamoa-Baah, accompanied by Alex Ross, Director, WKC, thanked Governor Ido and Vice-Mayor Tamada, the citizens of Kobe, and the Kobe Group’s generous support to WKC since 1996. He praised Governor Ido for his leadership over the past 16 years and his many accomplishments ensuring the health and safety of Hyogo’s citizens.
World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April every year marks the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization. The theme of the 2017 World Health Day campaign is depression.
Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living. At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds. A recent WHO global report providing health estimates on depression notes there was an 18% increase in the number of people living with depression between 2005 and 2015.
Yet, depression can be prevented and treated. A better understanding of what depression is, and how it can be prevented and treated, will help reduce the stigma associated with the condition, and lead to more people seeking help.
The WHO Kobe Centre has issued a Call for “Implementation research proposals for health systems development and public health interventions for ageing populations towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC): Lessons from Japan.” This Call covers five major domains of WKC’s 10 year Strategy, 2016-2026, and aims at attracting high quality implementation and health systems research projects, targeting Japanese universities/research institutions, with preference for those in the Kansai region. The research portfolio will be established based on a rigorous scientific peer review process.
Scientific evidence for public health policy and practice is much needed to support countries in their ambition to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030. Much can be learned from Japan’s health system which attained UHC in 1961 and its leading efforts to support ageing populations. WKC is currently supporting research in Japan on dementia and for measurement of ageing-related interventions.
WHO looks forward to attracting interest and proposals from Japan-based institutions.
“What can we, high school students, do for the ageing world?”
Kobe/Hyogo High School Forum: “Youth Meeting the World”
On 11 February 11 2017, the WHO Kobe Centre and the G7 Kobe Health Ministers' Meeting Promotion Council, along with the Hyogo Prefectural Board of Education and Osaka University, organized a large meeting of Kobe and Hyogo Prefecture High School students exploring global health: “Kobe/Hyogo Youth Meeting the World” at the Kobe International Exhibition Hall. This event follows up to the 2016 G7 Health Ministers’ meeting held in Kobe. About 600 participated, mainly from high schools in Hyogo prefecture.