Ministry addressing growing problem of NCDs

Izah Azahari

In addressing the growing problem of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said that the Ministry of Health (MoH) has established the Multisectoral Task Force for Health with relevant sector involvement. The Task Force reviews the Brunei Darussalam National Multisectoral Action Plan on Prevention and Control of NCDs (BruMap NCD) 2013-2018 and the National Health Screening Programme launched this year, where screening tests for cardiovascular, diabetes, breast cancer, cervical cancer and colon cancer are available at health centres in collaboration with the Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC).

These was revealed at the 7th Session of the Islamic Conference of Health Ministers in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Themed ‘Quality of Life’, the 7th Session of the Islamic Conference of Health Ministers was chaired by the Minister of Health and Prevention of the UAE Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais. Brunei Darussalam was appointed as Deputy Chairman of the conference.

Among those present at the conference were the Ministers of Health from Malaysia and the Republic of Indonesia.

During the conference, Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham addressed the plenary session and welcomed the theme of the conference that focussed on Quality of Life, which was also outlined in Brunei Vision 2035, in support of the national commitment to ‘Health for All’.

He said that Brunei is committed in the drive towards the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda, as well as providing high-quality health services that meets the needs of all walks of life.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar during the meeting with Minister of Health from the Republic of Maldives Abdulla Ameen. PHOTO: MOH

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham’s statement also touched on the quality of life indicators, which should not only be looked at from scarcity or limited health, but rather to take into account the well-being of life including the capacity for involvement in society where providing a conducive environment and promoting full social involvement where UHC is one of the pillars in achieving high quality of life. However, there are challenges in achieving UHC, including infrastructure, private expenditure on treatment, shortage of human resources and quality of medicine.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said that the MoH, in its efforts to further and enhance the achievement of UHC and the provision of comprehensive and high quality health services, has carried out a comprehensive assessment of national health strategies, the results of which is a five-year Health Strategic Plan recently launched.

He disclosed the key methods that have been and are being applied to advance the UHC agenda, especially in strengthening basic health care services including investment in health centres, maternity and paediatric health clinics and mobile clinics, as well as increasing health workforce capacity.

The MoH has implemented several initiatives that cover the health of senior citizens and addressed mental health, including community-based services.

The 7th Islamic Conference of Health Ministers has obtained the agreement and consensus of the member states to approve five resolutions with respect to the OIC Strategic Health Programme of Action SHPA 2014-2023 and Strengthening Health Cooperation; Healthy Living, Prevention and Control of Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases, and Health and Disaster Emergencies; Mother and Child Health and Nutrition; Self-Reliance in Supply and Production of Medicines, Vaccines and Medical Technologies; and Strengthening Immunisation and Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy.

While in Abu Dhabi, Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham also held two-way discussions with the Minister of Health from the Republic of Indonesia Dr Terawan Agus Putranto, as well as the Minister of Health from the Republic of Maldives Abdulla Ameen, particularly to discuss and exchange views on the development of the health sector in their countries, and to look into the implementation of health cooperation between the two countries.

Also present during the two-way discussions was the Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to the UAE Haji Harun bin Haji Junid.