By MARIA CHENG
AP Medical Writer
LONDON (AP) — Health ministers in the Western Pacific has nominated a surgeon from Tonga to lead the World Health Organization’s regional office at a meeting in Manila on Tuesday. Dr. Saia Ma’u Piukala’s nomination for WHO’s top job in the Western Pacific comes months after the U.N. health agency fired its previous director, Dr. Takeshi Kasai, following allegations of racism and misconduct first reported by the Associated Press last year. WHO said Piukala has nearly three decades of experience working in public health. Last January, the AP reported that dozens of WHO staffers in the Western Pacific region alleged that Kasai, the previous regional director, engaged in misconduct and made racist remarks to his staff.