Hanoi, Vietnam - The 63rd Regional Committee Meeting for the Western Pacific is currently being held in Hanoi, Vietnam until September 28.
Health ministers or their representatives from 37 member countries meet annually to discuss the implementation of programmes and activities of World Health Organisation (WHO) in this region and to make new plans for health development according to priorities, taking into account present and future challenges.
Led by Minister of Health Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Adanan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Mohd Yusof, the Brunei delegation includes Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional and Technical) Dr Dyg Hjh Norlila bte Dato Paduka Hj Abdul Jalil and senior officers from the ministry.
In his opening speech, the minister as chairperson to the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific for WHO for the duration October 2011 to September 2012 touched on the development of efforts and regional actions in tackling various challenges that could affect the health status in this region.
This includes the surge in non-communicable diseases, where various strategies have been implemented such as the Tobacco Control Programme and healthy lifestyle promotion.
He also said that countries in the Western Pacific have shown development towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal in health, enhancing capacity and regional cooperation in tackling health emergencies, and in eradicating infectious diseases such as chickenpox, poliomyletis, malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS in this region.
Member countries were also urged to strengthen their healthcare system to be more effective and responsive towards universal health coverage. This is in line with the theme of WHO 2012 Assembly that focuses on the priority of healthcare universally.
The minister expressed hope the spirit of unity and close ties that have existed among member countries will be strengthened continuously for the better health of the whole population in this region.
After the opening ceremony, the minister opened the meeting by delivering a speech and later handing over the chairmanship to the Health Minister of Vietnam.
Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Adanan put emphasis on matters relating to the theme of WHO, and placing member states on the path to a healthy future.
The minister, also stressed, among other, on the importance of implementing approaches that are based on evidence, systematic and a holistic approach in tackling health challenges effectively and sustainably.
This requires commitment supported with actions, continuous wise action and consistency until it is implemented properly, as well as close ties among member countries of WHO and stakeholders.
In the effort to build and strengthen the healthcare system, legal aspects and regulatory framework are also crucial as it would not only provide facilities in disease prevention, but also enable treatment and public health protection.
This enables the enhancement of a quality lifestyle. Realising the surging cost of healthcare, it requires intervention implementation that is cost effective by placing emphasis on prevention rather than cure.
The meeting later focussed on crucial agendas that should be given priority, covering public health issues such as violence and injury prevention, neglected tropical diseases, measles elimination, international health regulations, universal health coverage and nutrition.
The meeting also saw the discussion of administration and financial matters, particularly budget performance for the financial year 2010-2012 and the budget proposal for 2014-2015.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin