Skip to Main Content

Zhongfei Yang - Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva Switzerland
The objective of the WHO is printed on the wall, “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”

Career goal: Zhongfei seeks to become a leader in government sectors to make policies for a healthier world.

Internship outline: During his internship with the Unit for the Management of Non-communicable Diseases (MND) at the World Health Organization, Zhongfei updated a checklist for assessing national Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) action plans. Developing a national NCD action plan is part of a systematic approach to reduce the incidence, morbidity and mortality of NCDs and to improve the quality of life in a country.  Zhongfei’ checklist would engage countries in a comprehensive self-assessment of essential components of their national NCD action plans. Zhongfei also assisted the government of Indonesia in editing their national NCD action plan and identify prioritized actions. Additionally, he assisted in updating a WHO web-based tools for developing national NCD action plans, which can be found on WHO website.

Value of experience: This experience taught me about the multi-driving forces behind the public health decision-making. I came to understand that WHO mostly provides technique support and makes guidelines. It does not have enforcement power or political power on regional public health decision-making. Also, I understand that national public health goals and targets should be specific, feasible, and prioritized based on their own public health status and economic status, not merely copy WHO’s recommendation. For example, when I assisted Indonesia government in editing their national non-communicable disease action plan, I needed to take their public health status and specific needs into account.

Best moment/experience: During the 69th World Health Assembly, WHO’s 194 member states – including a large proportion of the world’s health ministers – gave speeches about their national health status and accomplishment. It was interesting and invigorating to listen to visions, strategies, challenges and concerns of different countries. 

Funding source: John D. Thompson Award