MANILA - Former health undersecretary Susan Mercado has been nominated as regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Western Pacific, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.
In a statement, the DFA said the Philippine government nominated Mercado, who is the special envoy of the President for global health initiatives, to the post.
"Dr. Mercado is uniquely qualified for this role because of her professional competence, proven track record, and commitment to a more proactive WHO in the Western Pacific,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said.
“With her efficient work ethic and heart for public service, we are convinced that she will make the WHO a truly responsive organization in these complex times."
Mercado had a 15-year stint at the WHO and previously served as the director for Non-communicable Diseases and Health in WHO's Regional Office for Western Pacific (WPRO).
As regional director, the DFA said Mercado "would be expected to seek practical solutions to public health issues in the Philippines and the Western Pacific with a combined population of 1.9 billion people."
Mercado has criticized the government's dengue immunization program in the past for causing a health scare among parents.
"You have to educate the mothers so that they understand why they need to get their kids vaccinated. This Dengvaxia controversy simply does not help," she said in an ABS-CBN interview.
Mercado obtained her Doctor of Medicine degree and completed her undergraduate (AB Philosophy) and graduate studies (Public Health) at the University of the Philippines.