Delivering as One, a UN in China conversation presented by Resident Coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee: Episode 6 with Gauden Galea
19 April 2022
Delivering as One is a podcast series that brings you the stories behind the representatives of the UN family in China.
In the sixth episode of the Delivering as One podcast, UN Resident Coordinator in China Siddharth Chatterjee sits down with Dr. Gauden Galea, Representative in China for the World Health Organization (WHO) ahead of World Health Day.
Dr. Galea hails from the small island of Malta, a far cry from working in China, a country of 1.4 billion inhabitants. With his capabilities in epidemiology and medicine, the field of public health became a natural move for the physician by training for many reasons, but it was his invitation to the First International Conference on Health Promotion in 1986, resulting in the Ottawa Charter, that marked a turning point in his career. His early career also saw him set up and lead a health promotion department in the Ministry of Health of his home country and become the first Executive Director of what is now the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Malta.
His journey with the WHO started nearly 24 years ago, taking him to locations as varied as Suva (Fiji), Manilla (Philippines), Geneva (Switzerland), and Copenhagen (Denmark). Throughout this time, in his differing roles, Dr. Galea solidified his interest in health promotion throughout the life-course and the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). These two areas have become a growing priority in the context that China now faces.
“I was suddenly switched on to the idea of global development, of global health.”
In this episode, Dr. Galea describes the working priorities of the WHO in China, focusing on the areas of technical support in health policy, health systems design and transformation, and advocacy and communications for health, also guided by the Healthy China 2030 Action Plan and the “For the Future” vision for innovation in the WHO Western Pacific Region.
During the conversation, he explains how the WHO in China plays an important role as advocates, conveners, and enablers of support, by collaborating with local and national governments and institutions on people-centred integrated care models in response to the demographic and economic transitions taking place in China as well as reaching out to policymakers and leadership to bring forward best practices in population health and areas including tobacco control, women’s health, mental health, immunization, road safety and more.
Together with the Resident Coordinator, the two also discuss challenges in the years ahead, including the need to tackle health disparities between different population groups in China, building universal health coverage while increasing preparedness for future pandemics, sharing these crucial lessons in public health with other parts of the world in South-South Cooperation, as well as the WHO’s work in China to leave no one behind and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, as part of the UN system in China.
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Dr. Gauden Galea
Dr. Gauden Galea is a public health physician, currently working as the WHO Representative in China, based in Beijing since April 2018. He has been coordinating the collaboration between WHO and China across all health concerns, with a primary focus on: the COVID-19 response, the review of a decade of health sector reform, advocacy for tobacco and alcohol control, and exploring the digital health landscape of China. On behalf of the Western Pacific Region of WHO, he has been coordinating an effort promoting innovation in public health within the "For the Future" vision of the Region.
Dr Galea has worked for WHO since 1998. Before assuming his current post, he worked as Director of the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Promoting Health through the Life-course, in WHO/Europe. He previously held posts in Suva, Manila, and Geneva as technical officer, regional adviser, and coordinator respectively in areas related to NCDs and Health Promotion.
Over the past two decades, he has contributed to the work on developing a national stepwise approach to NCDs, to the development of a process to link the prevention and control of NCDs to health systems, to the compilation of evidence linking NCDs to the global development agenda, to the renewal of life-course approaches to public health in Europe, and to action plans on women’s health and men’s health in Europe.
He has a deep interest in computer programming and the applications of data science to public health.
Siddharth Chatterjee took office as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in China on 16 January 2021 and is the designated representative of - and reports to - the UN Secretary-General. He presented his letter of credence to the President of China on 14 April 2021.
Mr. Chatterjee has more than 25 years of experience in international cooperation, sustainable development, humanitarian coordination and peace and security in the United Nations and the Red Cross movement. He has served in many fragile and war-torn countries all over the world.
A 3 times TEDx speaker, he is a regular opinion contributor on humanitarian and development issues for a range of journals which includes Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, Huffington Post, Forbes, CNN, Al Jazeera, the Guardian and as of late has also published in mainstream Chinese journals.
Mr. Chatterjee holds a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University in the United States of America.