Health Ministers Commit to Control and Eliminate Vector-borne Diseases

09, Sep 2014 | Author: Embassy of Indonesia


Health Ministers from WHO’s South-East Asia Region adopted the Dhaka Declaration on vector-borne diseases today. The Ministers from the Region’s 11 Member States met today at the Thirty-second Meeting of Ministers of Health to review health development in the Region, identify challenges and provide policy direction for future action on health issues.

The Dhaka Declaration spells out steps to control and eliminate vector-borne diseases for the Region. Approximately 1.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, 871 million are exposed to lymphatic filariasis and over 147 million are at risk of kala-azar in the Region. 52% of those vulnerable to dengue globally, live in the countries of the Region.

Her Excellency, Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, inaugurated the Thirty-second Meeting of Ministers of Health and the Sixty-seventh Session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia. She said, “Health is one of the most important determinants of people’s overall wellbeing. In order to build a healthy nation, our policies have put emphasis to intervene holistic dimensions of social, economic and environmental determinants of health including poverty reduction, education, gender equality, women’s empowerment and family planning.” She added, “Let us renew our commitment to ‘Universal Health Coverage’ as an essential precondition to transforming people as human assets and ensuring sustainable growth. Our collective spirits can make us do wonders”.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made a personal plea to the health delegates from the countries to support the Bangladesh’s effort to mobilize global support for the cause of autism. She said “It is imperative that individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities must find easy access to improved diagnosis and services”.

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, said that despite the many challenges which Bangladesh had faced over decades, “The solid improvements in the country’s health system and the services it provides, together with a stunning rise in overall health status and life expectancy” have been internationally documented. She added that, “The countries of the Region have much to learn from the rich experiences and inspiring health leadership of Bangladesh.”

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, said that health in the twenty-first century requires a twenty-first century approach. And that the challenges facing the countries are not amenable to technical solutions alone.

Dr Khetrapal Singh outlined her vision for health for the people in the Region and the four key directions which would achieve that vision.

These are “Addressing the persisting and emerging epidemiological and demographic challenges; advancing universal health coverage and robust health systems; strengthening emergency risk management for sustainable development; and articulating a strong regional voice in the global health agenda”.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, India’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare, the outgoing Chair of the Health Ministers’ Forum, spoke of the importance of traditional medicine. He said that India would like to further improve on the rich tradition of Ayurveda with better research, and quality manufacturing practices. He was happy that India and Bangladesh will be signing a bilateral agreement on cooperation in traditional medicines in Dhaka today.

By adopting the Dhaka Declaration on vector-borne diseases the health ministers committed to pursue an intersectoral and multidisciplinary approach in control and elimination of vector-borne diseases. The health ministers recognized the need to strengthen health systems to provide timely treatment and response to vector-borne disease outbreaks, and to strengthen national capacity building by training of vector control teams. The declaration is a commitment by health ministers to build capacity for efficient surveillance; strengthen national databases and develop mechanisms for data sharing and to encourage research on vector-borne diseases and disease control programmes.

 a) Thirty-second Meeting of Ministers of Health of WHO’s South-East Asia Region. b) Sixty-seventh Session of the Regional Committee for South-East Asia

When: 9 – 12 September 2014

Where: Hotel Sonargaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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