Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan inaugurated on Monday a week-long meeting of WHO Regional Committee of South-East Asia, being attended by his counterparts and experts from member nations to deliberate on public health issues and work towards elimination of diseases. He called for a 'mission-mode approach' for creating and spreading public health success stories from the region.
"I look forward to a strong and continued collaboration with all respected member states as we move forward towards attaining Sustainable Development Goals through universal health coverage," Vardhan said at the 72nd Session of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee of South-East Asia here. The committee is the highest decision making and governing body of WHO in the region.
At the meeting, the member nations will deliberate, among other issues, cervical cancer, strengthening of emergency preparedness capacities, eliminating measles and addressing the high burden of tuberculosis. "The session provides a unique opportunity to identify innovative solutions to common problems that countries in this diverse region face," Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Upendra Yadav said.
In his message, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, "It is heartening to see the region's long list of achievements in the past five years... We hope to see this momentum build further and contribute to WHO's global triple billion goals." Regional Director Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said, "We need to look beyond our day-to-day concerns and the immediate horizon to identify emerging challenges and trends, and seek new opportunities to take forward our joint agenda."
Home to over one-fourth of the global population, WHO South-East Asia Region has been prioritising measles elimination and rubella control, preventing non-communicable diseases, reducing maternal, under-five and neonatal mortality and combating antimicrobial resistance among others. Following concerted efforts, the Region eradicated polio in 2014. In 2016, it became the second WHO region to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus. Two countries -- the Maldives and Sri Lanka -- have eliminated malaria. Thailand and the Maldives have eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
Bhutan, Maldives, DPR Korea, Timor-Leste and Sri Lanka have eliminated measles. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste have controlled rubella. Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand have eliminated lymphatic filariasis. India is yaws-free; Nepal has eliminated trachoma. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand have controlled Hepatitis B.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)