It has been almost a decade since the launch and publication of the first Brunei Darussalam Multisectoral Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (BruMAP-NCD) in 2013, said Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar, the guest of honour, at the launching ceremony of BruMAP-NCD 2021-2025 at An-Naura Hall of the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex yesterday.
“Based on the implementation and findings of BruMAP-NCD 2013-2018, a second publication, BruMAP-NCD 2021-2025, takes into account the most effective actions in addressing NCD focussing on the involvement and cooperation of multiple sectors such as finance, education, agriculture, industry and trade, youth and sports, town planning, transportation as well as social and welfare,” he said.
He also emphasised that it is important for all to work collaboratively and leverage the synergy available as a nation, to achieve the goal of improving the quality of life of the people of Brunei Darussalam.
The minister added, “The stakeholders comprise non-governmental members, community bodies as well as grassroots members each of whom has a role to play in providing input, feedback, cooperation and support in addressing NCD related issues.
“Therefore, integrated cooperation in addressing health determinant is necessary to achieve a more comprehensive and effective response for our country.”
To achieve the goals of NCD prevention and control the minister said the Multisectoral Task Force for Health was established in 2017 and subsequently further strengthened to enable multi-sectoral coordination in implementing more sustainable NCD prevention and control measures.
This Multisectoral Task Force for Health, he highlighted “not only provides collective leadership and guidance for all sectors and relevant stakeholders, but also ensures the integration of non-communicable disease prevention measures particularly in related policies, and programmes or services”.
“The establishment of four Technical Working Groups (TWG) related to NCD is equally important in coordinating and strengthening healthcare actions involving the government and private health agencies in providing better patient management.
“This multi-sector coordination will provide a dynamic platform for strategic dialogue, agenda setting, integrated and sustainable public policy development, facilitating resources, and coordinating technical assistance to NCD prevention and control in various sectors and related departments,” Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said.
Apart from the governance mechanisms supporting BruMAP-NCD 2021-2025, the minister also lauded the clear monitoring and evaluation framework established to ensure accountability and timely implementation, noting “committee members of BruMAP-NCD 2021-2025 are urged to work closely with all relevant stakeholder to make sure that actions will be implemented as planned”.
“Roles and responsibilities for each sector have been outlined and focal officers from each agency have also been appointed. The focal officers provide perspectives on policy and also assist in coordination within the agencies towards shared goals, in addition to being communication officers for reference and follow-up purposes.”
Within the Ministry of Health (MoH), Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham shared, “Services at the primary healthcare level must continue to strengthen its capacity in the early detection and treatment of NCD as well as risk factors and complications, so that patients will receive early treatment.”
In the meantime, he said, “The National Screening Programme needs to be further enhanced so that it is accessible to all levels of society. In line with digital transformation initiatives at the national level, the MoH has also introduced the use of the BruHealth app to complement the existing BruHIMS system.“
The use of the BruHealth app, he explained, “goes beyond monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak”.
“It empowers patients by providing health information and access to parts of their medical records, laboratory tests, diagnoses and medications all at their fingertips.
“Insya Allah, more improvements to BruHealth have been planned in the near future, including towards the prevention of NCDs through the promotion of healthy lifestyle practices in the ministry’s efforts to move towards digitalisation of healthcare.”
The minister reiterated, “The MoH is committed to reducing the burden of NCD in the country and will always work with all stakeholders. While there has been significant progress including regulatory and policy measures in the country, national and societal approaches are still needed to improve the prevention, management and treatment of NCD in Brunei Darussalam.
“BruMAP-NCD 2021-2025 is an extension of the previous BruMAP-NCD 2013-2018 and will be a guide as well as a roadmap towards achieving the targets of prevention and control of NCDs at the national and global levels as set by the World Health Organization, as well as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 3.4, to reduce premature deaths related to NCDs through prevention and treatment by one-third, and to promote mental health and well-being.”
In his closing his remarks, Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said, “BruMAP-NCD 2021-2025 will also support the achievement of Brunei Vision 2035 goals in ensuring a high quality of life for all citizens of Brunei Darussalam.”