146th Meeting of the Executive Board, New Regional Director for Europe

In his new role as Regional Director for Europe, Dr Hans Kluge will direct international health work across the 53 countries of the WHO European Region, serving a population of 900 million people. He said his vision for health in the European region is for no one to be left behind and that major government policies should include health for people-centered and financially-sustainable healthcare and public health services, including affordable medicines.

Dr Kluge is a Belgian national who was previously Director of the Division of Health Systems and Public Health at WHO/Europe. In his role with WHO/Europe, he prioritized a participatory approach with staff based on the WHO values charter as well as eradicating harassment.

Explaining his vision for health, Dr Kluge commented, “Every child, every woman and every man in our beautiful and diverse Region has the right to health. I am committed to delivering united action for better health. This means applying the best data and evidence, demanding increasing investment in health, strengthening our health systems around people’s needs, and extending inclusive and non-discriminatory access to health care to all. By so doing, we build fair, happy, sustainable societies for ourselves and generations to come.”

Over the past decade at WHO/Europe, Dr Kluge helped introduce community-based primary health care in Greece during the financial crisis, the Tallinn Charter implementation, and in 2018, pushing forward commitments adopted at the Global Conference on Primary Health Care in Astana, Kazakhstan.

For the past 25 years, Dr Kluge has been active in public health, beginning his career as a family doctor in Belgium and serving for Médecins Sans Frontières in Liberia and Somalia. His work involved large-scale tuberculosis programmes in prison systems in Siberia and several countries of the former Soviet Union. At the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia, he headed tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria programmes in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Myanmar.

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Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest.

It covers an area of 30,689 km2 (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.5 million, making it the 22nd most densely populated country in the world and the 6th most densely populated country in Europe, with a density of 376 per square kilometre (970/sq mi). The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi, Liège, Bruges, Namur, and Leuven.

Legally, Belgium is a sovereign state and a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organization is complex and is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds. It is divided into three highly autonomous regions: the Flemish Region in the north, Wallonia in the south, and the Brussels-Capital Region.

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    Kazakhstan was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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