THE Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday that the ouster of Takeshi Kasai as World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific regional director would not affect the country’s coordination with the United Nations agency.
The DOH’s statement was made after the WHO terminated the contract of Kasai following staff accusations of abusive and racist behavior.
“The DOH assures the public that the recent event will not affect the country’s coordination with WHO,” the department said in a statement.
“The decision was collectively made by the member states of the region and its executive board members. Further, coordination mechanisms are in place no matter who is at the helm,” it added.
The DOH also expressed confidence that the WHO “will continuously ensure the flow of collaborative programs and efforts towards improving our healthcare systems and the people’s welfare.”
Kasai, who denied the allegations, was accused of presiding over a “toxic atmosphere” in the Manila bureau with a culture of “systemic bullying and public ridiculing.”
The staff, who wished to remain anonymous “for fear of retaliation,” accused him of making “derogatory remarks to staff of certain nationalities,” in particular local Filipinos.
The WHO executive board called a two-day, closed-door special session at its Geneva headquarters to discuss the case of Japanese doctor Kasai, who was suspended after allegations first surfaced in January 2022.
It said the executive board meeting was scheduled to consider “the recommendation of the regional committee,” which was held in the Western Pacific headquarters in Manila last week—also in private. The WHO’s Western Pacific region covers almost 1.9 billion people across 37 territories.