Today on the second day of the 63rd session of the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office meeting a variety of matters were discussed. A high level panel presented on the issues facing the Western Pacific Region regarding nutrition. We heard about the problems of over and under-nutrition in the region, in particular the impacts of poor nutrition of children during the first 1000 days of life, and the importance of breast-feeding. Many representatives spoke about the programs being implemented in their home countries, the barriers they were facing, and the gains that they had made. Some initiatives in place included the extension of paid maternity leave, food vouches for women during pregnancy, guidelines for school canteens, and the banning of advertising of junk food and breast milk substitutes.
The evening program involved a cultural night where each delegation did a performance of a traditional piece, popular music, and in some cases magic tricks or dancing feats! Kelly and I joined forces with the Australian delegation who provided a rousing rendition of the nursery rhyme ‘Three Blind Mice’ with lyrics replaced by topic issues discussed throughout the meeting such as NCDs, preventable blindness, and the plain packaging of tobacco products. The night was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and was a fantastic opportunity to experience some of the many cultures in the room.