HA NOI (VNS)— Measures to prevent the spread of non-communicable diseases were the focus of health ministers from 37 nations at the 63rd session of the WHO regional committee for the Western Pacific here yesterday.
|Malnourished children are examined at the Khanh Vinh District Health Centre in Khanh Hoa Province. Health ministers from 37 nations discussed measures to prevent the spread of non-communicable diseases at the 63rd session of the WHO regional committee for the Western Pacific in Ha Noi yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
Chairwoman of the session, Viet Nam's Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said the five-day meeting was a chance for member nations to discuss health issues and challenges, violence, injury prevention and HIV prevention and treatment.
The WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Dr Shin Young-soo, said at the opening session that non-communicable diseases were caused by hereditary factors, nutritional deficiencies and polluted environments.
He said they were getting priority because they were responsible for more than four out of five deaths in the Western Pacific region.
"Perhaps no issue better demonstrates the need for these so-called whole-of-society and whole-of-government solutions – and the role WHO plays in co-ordinating that co-operation," he said.
Brunei's Health Minister, Pehin Dato Adanan Yusof, shared Dr Shin's idea and said that what was being called for was "a comprehensive strategy, a whole-of-government approach incorporating health in all policies and nothing less".
"We need to strengthen our health systems starting with appropriate legislation to enable us not only to provide the means and the facilities to prevent people from getting sick, but also make it possible for the sick to be cured: not only to save lives, but also to improve the quality of life."
Dr Shin said universal health care had become a priority for many member states.
Chairwoman Tien said her country had improved its health system and that health staff had been allocated to all commune-level health stations.
Dr Shin said Viet Nam had developed its National Health Insurance Initiative to expand basic health coverage because it wanted its citizens to have good quality health care, based on need rather than ability to pay.
Many countries were also learning from the pioneering work on tobacco control as part of the fight against non-communicable diseases.
For the next four days, members will discuss nutrition, violence and injury prevention, neglected tropical diseases, malaria, HIV prevention and treatment, and measles elimination.
In a reception for ShinYoung-soo yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan said the WHO agenda was very suitable for Viet Nam because it involved health finance, nutrition, health-related Millenium Development Goals and epidemic prevention.
Nhan said that Viet Nam highly regarded WHO's universal health-care coverage scheme and said it had held a high-ranking forum on health insurance as part of the session's activities.
The Deputy PM said he valued the leadership role of World Health Organisation in regional and global health forums and he was honoured that Viet Nam, for the first time, was hosting a session of WHO Regional Committee. — VNS