Producing a “Healthy Asia Pacific” by 2020: APEC goal

Update: August, 22/2017 - 01:00
A two-day Health Working Group Meeting held in HCM City on Monday (august 21) focused on priorities for a “Healthy Asia Pacific 2020”. — VNS/Photo Gia Lộc
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — The health of all residents in the Asia-Pacific region is a critical component of economic and trade development, Lê Quang Cường, deputy minister of Health, said at an APEC Health Working Group meeting yesterday in HCM City.

The meeting, held within the framework of APEC’s Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 3), discussed priorities and indicators of the “Healthy Asia Pacific 2020” plan.

“Investment in health is the key to inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” Cường said, adding that better health leads to greater wealth.

Members of the group are discussing a draft for the Leaders’ Declaration and Joint Statement of Ministerial Meetings, which will be submitted for approval to the High-Level Meeting for Ministers.

The draft includes five priorities, endorsed by the first APEC Health Working Group held in Nha Trang in late February.

The five priorities in the draft include: universal health coverage in APEC economies; strengthening of communicable disease control and antimicrobial resistance; an integrated approach to healthy aging and non-communicable diseases; sustainable healthcare financing; and multi-sectoral action to achieve health-related sustainable development goals by 2030.

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Trần Thị Giáng Hương, director of the Health Ministry’s international co-operation department, told Việt Nam News that the declaration and joint statement would send a message that APEC economies must invest more in the health field and work closely to prevent emergent and reemergent diseases.

The 21APEC economies also plan to improve existing health facilities at the grassroots level, with the aim of providing comprehensive health care services for all residents, she said.

Toru Kajiwara, director of the Office of Global Health Co-operation at Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, said that all APEC economies were faced with aging populations and that new efforts at cooperation among APEC members were needed to address this critical issue.

“Your country’s population is young now, but the pace of the aging population is occurring very quickly,” Kajiwara said. “I think your government has taken good care of this issue, and is now in the process of preparing good policies. I think we can co-operate well on the issue of active aging.”

The chair of the working group, Rocío Cathia Casildo Canedo, who is general director of the Office of Cooperation and International Affairs at Peru’s Ministry of Health, said that APEC members should work more closely on specific health issues that occur in their respective economies so they can more easily identify preventive solutions.

“It would be better for us to receive more initiatives and more working plans from members in the Health Working Group,”she said.

The working group plans to hold joint sessions today with other APEC and international health bodies. —VNS