It is indeed an honour and a privilege to address this important assembly today, on behalf of the Pacific island nations, namely: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and my own country, Tonga.
In the Western Pacific Region, two to three million people per year contract diseases that could be prevented by immunization. These diseases cause severe illness and, in some cases, death, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated in launching World Immunization Week on April 23.
On the eve of World Cancer Day the World Health Organization (WHO) urged governments to strengthen national control programmes, including by raising awareness, amid an alarming rise of cancer cases. WHO’s Western Pacific Region bears a significant share of the global cancer burden, accounting for 32% of all cancers in 2008. There were slightly more than 4 million new cases of cancer in the region in 2008 – 2.31 million in men and 1.75 million in women. Nearly 2.6 million people in the region died from cancer in that year. - WHO.