Integrated action sought for better global health system

Azlan Othman

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar stressed the need for an empowered health system around the world where Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies must continue to work together in an integrated manner to support all walks of life to achieve greater peace and stability in the Asia -Pacific region.

He made this statement at the 10th APEC High-Level Meeting on Health and Economy held virtually on Wednesday.

The annual meeting is a forum between governments at ministerial level to discuss issues related to health and economy. The minister also expressed Brunei Darussalam’s support to the APEC leadership and its efforts in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) approach.

The meeting carrying the theme ‘Building a Resilient Asia-Pacific in a COVID-19 World’ among others discussed the proposals to make a health investment that can be beneficial to sustainable economic growth, in addition to establishing mechanisms to strengthen the health system and support digital economy as well as health innovation in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting agreed on the APEC High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy Joint Statement which among others highlighted the need to invest in health and focus on evidenced-based interventions in prevention and response to COVID-19 pandemic waves which will help in economic recovery, and reduce the likelihood of occurrence of pandemics in the future. The statement elaborated on an agreement to take action to further strengthen the health system, further enhancing efforts to collaborate to obtain an accessible vaccine and continue efforts to addressing other health issues in member countries in the Asia-Pacific.

The meeting involved health ministers from APEC economies, senior government officials, researchers, academia, the private sector and businesses to facilitate integrated action, exchange of best practices and sharing of innovative approaches against cross-border health threats.

The 10th meeting was organised by the Ministry of Health of Malaysia. Deputy Permanent Secretary (Policy and Management) at the Ministry of Health Haji Maswadi bin Haji Mohsin and senior officials were also present.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar at the virtual meeting. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN