WHO meet: South Asian Health Ministers to discuss medicine for all

Health Ministers from South-East Asian countries will attend WHO’s 70th Regional Committee Session to discuss climate change and improving access to essential medicines for all, an official said on Thursday.

The discussions will take place during the Annual Governing Body Meeting of the World Health organisation (WHO)’s South-East Asian chapter, being hosted by Maldives this year from September 6 to 10, WHO said in a statement.

WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Hepatitis in South-East Asia region, Amitabh Bachchan, will join the meeting to advocate urgent action against viral hepatitis, a preventable disease that kills approximately 410,000 people in the region every year.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom and Regional Director Poonam Khetrapal Singh will address the meeting, which will also be attended by health officials from member-countries and representatives of partner organisations.

The subjects to be discussed during the entire session also includes intensifying efforts to end tuberculosis.

“Strengthening primary health care and the health workforce and progress towards universal health coverage are among other priority issues being addressed at the meeting, reflecting the region’s drive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal for health,” the global health body said.

According to it, the focus of the meeting will be also be on climate change as a well prepared and responsive health system is crucial for preventing and minimising the increasing health risks posed by climate change.

“The ministers will also deliberate on accelerating efforts to end tuberculosis as the region bears a disproportionate 45 per cent of the global TB burden,” it said.

The meeting will also deliberate on the action needed to cut down road traffic injuries, which cause 316,000 deaths in the region every year.

“Vector control will also figure prominently at the governing body meeting, as countries across the region bear a high burden of vector-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria and lymphatic filariasis,” the statement added.

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