The World Health Organization Western Pacific Region (WHOWPRO) held its 68th meeting in Brisbane on 9–13 October 2017. I was fortunate to be invited as an observer, as an APA member, in partnership with the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT). I really had very little idea of what the meeting would entail and, to be honest, it was nothing like I thought. As outlined on its website: the WHO’s mission is to support all countries and peoples in their quest to achieve the highest attainable level of health, defined in the WHO Constitution as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
The Western Pacific Region is made up of 37 nations, with the smallest recording a population of 1000 and the largest of over 1.2 billion. The ‘health’ of each nation is vastly diverse, with some unable to sustain tertiary healthcare services. To achieve its mission in such circumstances would be formidable for the WHO-WPRO.
I found the agenda of topics limited. However, I came to understand that having 10 items for consideration was a huge undertaking in 2017 (compared to the usual six). Also the yearly meetings rolled through different topics that were revisited or addressed across disparate years, with new agenda items and health topics proposed and voted on each year. Topics this year included: