The Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) congratulates PMA Life Member, Hon. Dr Saia Ma’u Piukala, for his recent appointment as Regional Director for the Western Pacific at the World Health Organization (WHO). Health ministers and other senior officials from the Region’s Member States voted yesterday during the seventy-fourth session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific.
Dr Piukala’s career as a surgeon and public health advocate for Tonga and the Pacific region spans over thirty years, dedicating his time to championing initiatives on noncommunicable diseases, safe surgery, climate change and health, and disaster preparedness and response.
PMA CEO, Debbie Sorensen, relays the significance in the recognition of Dr Piukala by the WHO.
“This is a historical time for Pacific countries in the Western Pacific Region. For the first time we have a Pacific person in this role. We are beyond proud to have a Pacific leader nominated for this role and indicates the maturity of Pacific leaders to exercise their vote to ensure Pacific countries have a voice in the region.
“We acknowledge Hon. Dr Saia Piukala’s work internationally and across the region; it is a well-deserved appointment.”
PMA President, Dr Kiki Maoate, affirms PMA’s endorsement of Dr Piukala’s nomination.
“The acknowledgement of Dr Piukala’s work and contributions to Pacific Health is a success for us all. We relay our heartfelt congratulations on this newest accomplishment.
“We acknowledge Dr Piukala’s leadership and those who have supported his journey. This appointment highlights the respect Dr Piukala is accorded from the member states.
“We congratulate the member states for investing their confidence in a Pacific leader. We look forward to continuing our support to Dr Piukala in this new leadership role.”
Dr Piukala addressed the Regional Committee and the WHO workforce upon his appointment, crediting his success to his support system.
“At home, we say that it takes a village to raise a child. Today, I stand here before you, not as Saia Ma’u Piukala, but as someone who is here because of that village.
“I know that to whom much is given, much is expected, and I look forward to working with you to make our Region the one we want it to be.”