Brunei Darussalam will set up a unit to fight the dissemination of incorrect and false information, particularly in times of health crisis, said Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar at the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva.
The Sultanate will be working in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) to set up the ‘Behavioural Insights Unit’ which will facilitate unity between the government and society, listen to grievances and build trust on health concerns, said the minister.
Meanwhile, the minister welcomed the focus in the theme of the World Health Assembly ‘Health for Peace, Peace for Health’ which emphasises that the global community is still experiencing the effects of COVID-19.
The minister said Brunei Darussalam is one of the countries which has achieved a high level of vaccination rate – more than 98 per cent of its population have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 70 per cent already receiving the booster shot. The country has begun the transition to the management of COVID-19 as an endemic disease, said the minister. Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham acknowledged not many countries are as fortunate as Brunei Darussalam with its provision of universal health coverage.
The minister said the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that instability in the supply chain of basic medicines can threaten not only health systems but also global peace and security.
“Even in times of crisis, countries must still be guided by the principle of universal health coverage,” he said.
The minister is leading a delegation of senior health officials, including Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the Ministry of Health Dr Ang Swee Hui to the assembly, which is taking place from May 22 to 28.
The delegation also includes Deputy Permanent Representative of Brunei Darussalam to the United Nations Dayangku Nooraslena binti Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Sallehuddin.
According to a Ministry of Health statement, the 75th World Health Assembly has reached the agreement and consensus of member states on various important public and global health issues including those related to the control of communicable and non-communicable disease, standardisation of nomenclature for medical devices, health workforce, action and preparedness for public health emergencies, the nutrition of infants and mothers as well as global strategies on food safety.
While in Geneva, the minister paid a visit to WHO Regional Director of Western Pacific Regional Office Dr Takeshi Kasai and held a discussion with the Swiss Medical Network.