| Azaraimy HH |
THE recent 12th Asean Health Ministers Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, agreed on the Asean Vision for Health Development Beyond 2015, which is aligned towards ‘A Healthy, Caring and Sustainable Asean Community.’
To achieve this vision, the meeting identified and agreed on strengthening regional cooperation through the following four clusters – strengthening healthcare system and access to care; promoting a healthy lifestyle; response to all hazards and emerging threats to health; and ensuring food safety.
Brunei was represented by Minister of Health Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Adanan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Mohd Yusof at the meeting, which ran from September 18 – 19.
Themed ‘Better Health for Asean Community Beyond 2015,’ the meeting commenced with a retreat session, where ministers discussed matters related to ‘Strengthening Primary Healthcare Towards Universal Health Coverage.’
During the meeting, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Adanan highlighted the importance of bringing the planning and implementation of programmes as well as health development activities of the Asean region towards the sustainable development goals.
He urged that health issues be given continued attention in the overall development agenda, aside from supporting the setting of targets and indicators on the level of health achievement of the Asean communities.
The minister also urged that Asean cooperation in health development be focussed on the development of health workforce to ensure it is not only adequate, but also competent and of high calibre, as the health workforce contributes towards ensuring sustainable quality healthcare system and strong socio-economic development of a nation and the region.
Asean health ministers also agreed upon, in their joint statement, several points that emphasised on commitment on various matters including, to accentuate and speed up action in reducing risk factors for non-communicable diseases by taking cost effective intervention as stated in the Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration on Non-Communicable Diseases in Asean during the 23rd Asean Summit in Brunei Darussalam; strengthen the national food control system to ensure food safety and quality in the Asean region; strengthen Asean cooperation in prevention and control of new communicable diseases, especially through increasing capacity from aspects of surveillance, investigation of epidemic, exchange of information and promoting cooperation on border controls; and promoting access to safe, quality and effective medicine as well as traditional medicinal practices in the Asean region.
The ministers also agreed to give commitment in implementing advocacy of ‘Health in All Policies’ and to emphasise on the importance of close cooperation between various sectors, including the involvement of community, towards achieving the goals of Healthy Asean Community.
The 12th Asean Health Ministers Meeting was followed by the 5th Asean+3 Health Ministers Meeting, with the People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea and Japan to discuss the strengthening of cooperation between Asean and the three countries in areas that include cooperation in tackling communicable diseases, universal health coverage and senior citizens healthcare.
The meeting this year also focused on ‘Strengthening Primary Health Care for Non-Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control’ and agreed on the implementation of new cooperation such as Asean Health Initiative on Health Promotion and Disaster Health Management.
The 5th Asean and People Republic of China Health Ministers Meeting was also held to discuss progress of the health development cooperation between Asean and China, which encompasses among others, tobacco control; prevention of communicable diseases including malaria, dengue, HIV/AIDS; and traditional medicines.
Both of the meetings were held on September 19.
At the 12th Asean Health Ministers Meeting, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Asean and the World Health Organization (WHO) was also witnessed to strengthen cooperation in the field of health. This includes enabling WHO to provide technical assistance to Asean in health affairs.
During the meeting, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Adanan also held a discussion with Vietnamese Health Minister Professor Dr Nguyen Thi Kim Tien to exchange views related to the development of the health sector and to assess health cooperation between both countries.
A separate discussion was also held with Singapore Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, to strengthen bilateral relations in the field of health, including the development of capacity and training of health professional.
Brunei Darussalam will host and chair the 13th Asean Health Ministers Meeting, the 7th Asean+3 Health Ministers Meeting as well as the 6th Asean and Republic of China Health Ministers Meeting in 2016.