WHO officials and ministers from south-east region will meet for a week-long programme starting Monday to discuss various health-related issues such as battling pandemic-like threats, universal health coverage, and addressing mental health issues through primary care. The 75th Regional Committee Session of WHO South-East Asia, the annual governing body meeting of the World Health Organization in the region, being hosted by Bhutan this year, will be held from September 5 to 9.
Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia, officials from WHO headquarters, senior officials from health ministries of member countries, representatives of UN agencies, partners, donors, and members of civil society, will be participating in the meeting, a WHO statement said.
The meeting will discuss progress for ending noncommunicable diseases and TB, how to accelerate elimination of cervical cancer and strengthen the health workforce education and training, said the highest decision making body of WHO in the region. It will also review the progress made on the resolutions adopted at previous regional committee sessions including the regional plan of action for healthy environments for healthier populations, plan to address malnutrition, ending preventable maternal, newborn, and child mortality, elimination of measles and rubella by 2023, and strengthening emergency medical teams, the statement said. Home to one-fourth of the global population, the region has been focusing efforts around eight regional flagship priorities since 2014.
These are: elimination of measles and rubella by 2023, addressing non-communicable diseases through multi-sectoral policies and plans, accelerate reduction of maternal, neonatal and under-five mortality, advance universal health coverage, reverse antimicrobial resistance, scale-up emergency risk management capacities, eliminate neglected tropical diseases, and end TB.
The regional priorities are in sync with Sustainable Development Goals for health. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first time that the Regional Committee session is being held in-person. The last two annual meetings – hosted by Nepal in 2021, and Thailand in 2020 – were virtual.