By Leslie D. Venzon
CEBU CITY, Aug. 20 (PNA) — Health ministers from the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are working to develop a roadmap for the implementation of a new initiative to promote a healthy Asia Pacific by 2020, to be endorsed to APEC Leaders this November.
“Implementation of this roadmap would go a long way to addressing the struggle we all are facing on infectious and chronic disease,” said Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin at the opening of the 5th APEC High Level Meeting on Health and the Economy held here Sunday.
Garin said health ministers will endorse the roadmap and identify key areas where each of APEC economy can take a lead in collective implementation.
The Roadmap for the “Healthy Asia Pacific 2020 Initiative” covers the critical success factors and immediate actions to ensure that the initiative is implemented in a meaningful, sustainable, cost-effective way to mitigate threats to the region’s people, trade and economic security.
DOH Undersecretary Kenneth Hartigan-Go said the roadmap covers critical areas, including prevention and control of priority diseases such as non-communicable and infectious ones.
“If we significantly cut them (diseases) down, it will then rebound to a healthy population. That will cut the cost of government expenditures as well as out-of-pocket expenditures,” Go said.
Meanwhile, Garin said other new initiatives the health ministers will endorse to APEC Leaders this November are those on infectious disease, chronic disease and fiscal implications of ill-health.
To address the cause of a number of infectious diseases which is the lack of a safe blood supply, she said the APEC members are working to launch the APEC Blood Supply Chain Partnership Training Network.
This will help build the capacity of laboratory managers and blood bankers and help them achieve international accreditation, she added.
Garin said they also target to launch this year digital hub to promote innovative collaborations between governments, academia and the private sector on advancing mental well-being.
The APEC is holding its Third Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) and Related Meetings here until Sept. 6. (PNA)