Vanuatu delegates meet WHO Director General

Vanuatu delegates to the World Health Assembly had a bilateral meeting with the World Health Organisation Director General for Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and addressed the country’s needs.

The meeting highlighted Vanuatu’s achievement and support from WHO and push back of Public Health programmes due to Covid-19 and twin cyclones Kevin and Judy in March 2023.

Acting Director General of the Ministry of Health, Judith Melsul highlighted that the ministry played a significant role in advocating for the more than 50 percent increase in excise tax on tobacco products, and for the total prohibition of heated tobacco products, electronic nicotine, and non-nicotine products in Vanuatu.

“While these products have yet to proliferate in the country, the MoH recognized its threats to the youth, as well as to the tobacco control efforts made in Vanuatu. Through the MoH’s proactive efforts, Vanuatu became the first country in the Pacific to introduce a total ban on e-cigarette,” she said.

“Vanuatu is doing a provincial focus primary health care program. Immunization, Non-Communicable Disease, and communicable diseases are all delivered in integration. The province’s leadership, not only health authorities but the involvement of area council members is groomed through joint planning, implementation, and monitoring. Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign for scabies, yaws and deworming is on-going.”

Dr Tedros said WHO will continue to support Vanuatu and “we will share your success story as the first country in the Pacific to introduce a total ban on e-cigarette.”


Photo supplied Caption: Acting Director General of  Ministry of Health, Judith Melsul, Vanuatu Ambassador to Switzerland Sumbue Antas and  WHO Director General, Dr Tedros during the meeting.


Tensly Sumbe