MANILA, Oct. 14 (PNA) — The health challenges we face today are borderless. Hence our response must go beyond borders as well.
This was emphasized Tuesday by Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique Ona as he welcomed the country’s election as chair of this year’s 65th Session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific region, the annual meeting of the WHO’s Governing Body in the region.
“The Philippines is fortunate to have experienced this borderless response during typhoon ‘Haiyan’ (Yolanda). This same spirit can be used for any threat to health in any part of our Region,” said Ona.
He added that indeed, hope for better health can be borderless.
The DOH chief cited the Regional Committee Meeting that the country currently chairs is expected to appraise WHO’s accomplishments for the previous year and come up with measures to further promote the health and well-being of the Western Pacific Region’s 1.8 billion population.
The Regional Committee is composed of representatives from the region’s 37 countries and areas.
He added that among health items in the agenda that are expected to take up are the draft Regional Agenda for implementing the Mental Health Action Plan (2013-2020) that includes the mental health response during calamities and disasters, the progress in the implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and consider to draft a Regional Action Plan for the next five years.
Also included to be tackled are the draft Action Plans for anti-microbial resistance, immunization, and disaster risk management, and budget proposal for 2015-2016.
“I believe that, as Ministers, we need to work more closely with local government authorities. And we need to cast our net widely, so to speak, and engage other partners in the private sector, to work on the health of cities and densely populated areas, particularly in relation to health and the environment,” Ona explained.
Other topics in the agenda include updates on the International Health Regulations (2005), food safety, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, non-communicable diseases, environmental health, violence and injury prevention, nutrition, universal health coverage and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“Over the next few days, I look forward to your active participation in the discussions on very important health issues that require our urgent attention and action,” the health chief concluded.(PNA)