New Delhi: A week-long meeting of WHO Regional Committee of South-East Asia was inaugurated by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday. This meeting was attended by his counterparts and experts from member nations in order to deliberate on the health issues of the public and working towards the elimination of diseases. A mission-mode approach was suggested by him to create and spread public health success stories from the region.
At the 72nd Session of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee of South-East Asia, Vardhan reflected upon looking forward to attaining Sustainable Development Goals through universal health coverage. He expected a strong and continued collaboration with all respected member states in this regard.
The meeting will constitute of all the member nations deliberating over issues like cervical cancer, elimination of measles, strengthening of emergency preparedness capacities, and addressing the high burden of tuberculosis.
Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Upendra Yadav talked about how the session will be providing a special chance to identify innovative solutions to common problems that are faced by countries in this diverse region.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent across a message which stated his happiness regarding the long list of achievements of the region in the past five years. He said that he hoped to see this momentum build further and contribute to WHO’s global triple billion goals.
WHO South-East Asia Region has been home to over one-fourth of the global population which have been working relentlessly to prioritize measles elimination and rubella control, preventing non-communicable diseases, reducing maternal under-five and neonatal mortality and combating antimicrobial resistance among others.
The region eradicated polio in 2014 by following concerted efforts. It became the second WHO region in 2016 to remove maternal and neonatal tetanus. Sri Lanka and the Maldives are the two countries that have been successful to eliminate malaria. On the other hand, mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis has been eliminated in Thailand and the Maldives.
Measles has been eliminated by Bhutan, Maldives, DPR Korea, Timor-Leste, and Sri Lanka. Rubell has been brought under control in Bangladesh, Maldives, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Timor-Leste. Lymphatic filariasis has been eliminated in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Trachoma has been eliminated in Nepal and India is yaws-free. Hepatitis B has been controlled by Bhutan, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Nepal.