WHO Regional Director shares his vision at UTS
Newly appointed World Health Organization Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr Takeshi Kasai spoke to UTS academics, professional staff, students and interns about the philosophy that will drive his tenure and the changes he hopes to inspire.
During his first official visit to Australia as Regional Director, Dr Kasai was invited to tour the UTS Faculty of Health by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Development (WHO CC UTS).
“It is a great honour to have Dr Kasai visit UTS in his first few months of taking office as Regional Director," says Michele Rumsey, Director for UTS WHO CC. "He is truly building partnerships.”
WHO CC UTS is one of only two nursing and midwifery Collaborating Centres in Australia working to strength health systems in the Western Pacific region. It is formally recognised by WHO as Secretariat to the South Pacific Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer's Alliance, covering over 14 countries in the Pacific and also a member of Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centre's for Nursing and Midwifery.
As the new WHO Regional Director, Dr Kasai spoke to UTS about the goals he aims to achieve during his five-year tenure.
“We want health services that go deep into the community and that then come back and plan,” he said. "Our region is one of the most dynamically changing regions, and in a time of rapid change, community and the health services in that community are very important.”
A physician by training, Dr Kasai emphasised the importance of working within the community and all health workers, with the majority being nurses and midwives.
“I see the reality on the ground in the community, and I know that we should not design a system based on what we see today. We have to design for the future,” he said.
To do that, Dr Kasai believes in a process he has dubbed ‘backcasting’.
“We have to take ourselves into the future, and think backwards, to design the changes we need and to pay special attention to make sure we work for the future. We have to move out of our comfort zone and use our imagination.”
During the tour, Dr Kasai visited several UTS Health Research Centres, including Improving Palliative, Aged and Chronic Care through Clinical Research and Translation (ImPACCT). He also toured the clinical nursing and midwifery laboratory and simulation spaces.
“The Regional Director is very open to working with us more closely and recognised the value of nursing and midwifery in our complex region,” says Michele Rumsey, Director for UTS WHO CC.
Dr Kasai was appointed by the WHO Executive Board in February 2019.