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Minister calls for cooperation in ASEAN health development

Rokiah Mahmud

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar called for ASEAN cooperation in health development through the exchange of views and information to understand the success and challenges faced by ASEAN countries while implementing strategies with health priorities in mind.

He made the call at the 15th ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting and Related Meetings in Bali, Indonesia on May 14-15.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham highlighted the challenges encountered by the health system during the post COVID-19 pandemic, and suggested the increase in efforts not only to restore health aspects, but also further develop innovative ways to strengthen and empower the health system to prepare for future public health emergencies.

The meetings proceeded to discussing ASEAN efforts in developing the Mutual Recognition Agreement on COVID-19 Health Certificates and the setting up of ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.

The meeting aimed to provide a platform for strategic discussions on directions and health priority areas needing attention in the ASEAN region, while strengthening health cooperation between ASEAN and dialogue partners.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar at the 15th ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting and Related Meetings in Bali, Indonesia. PHOTO: MOH

The event also focussed on building regional health system resilience and accelerating COVID-19 tecovery.

The ASEAN health ministers also agreed to approve a joint statement highlighting agreements on matters of interest, including strengthening the prevention and preparedness in public health emergencies; strengthening health emergencies detection; enhancing mitigation strategies in addressing the current and future public health emergencies; strengthening the access to vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics including essential medical supplies for action and preparation against pandemics; strengthening the capacity and capability at national and regional level through the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases; tightening cooperation in various sectors through the ASEAN Post-2015 Health Development Agenda 2021-2025.

The 15th ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting also followed with the first ASEAN – South Korea Health Ministers Meeting, 9th ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers Meeting, 8th ASEAN – China Health Ministers Meeting and Special ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting with the United States yesterday.

At each meeting, the health ministers agreed to issue a joint statement describing the agreements based on their areas of cooperation.

While in Bali, Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham also conducted bilateral meetings with Indonesia’s Health Minister Budi G Sadiki and Singapore’s Health Minister Ong Ye Kung to discuss and exchange views on the development of health sectors and to review the implementation of cooperation in the field of health between the two countries.

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