WHO SOUTH EAST-ASIA REGIONAL OFFICE (SEARO) 73rd SESSION OF THE REGIONAL COMMITTEE VIRTUAL MEETING 2020 09-10 September 2020
IPSF Asia Pacific Regional Office (APRO) attended the WHO South East-Asia (SEARO) 73rd Session of the Regional Committee Meeting 2020. Due to the pandemic, it was executed virtually and attended by the member states, private sectors and Non-State Actors (NSAs) that have been the official members and partners of the World Health Organization. IPSF APRO delegated five (5) representatives to attend from the Regional Working Group, committee and members of the Federation that had gone through the selection process.
The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also attended the session and expressed his gratitude to the hardwork of the member states and WHO SEARO during this difficult time. His excellency congratulated Thailand as the host of WHO South East-Asia 73rd Session of the Regional Committee Meeting 2020 on being the first member state to develop a certified medical emergency team and encouraged other countries to take this challenge during the pandemic. Dr. Tedros concluded that in this uncertainty, it is an opportunity to invest in the healthcare system and reaffirmed the importance of vaccine development and its equal distribution to society.
The session covered the annual report of the work of the WHO SEARO from WHO South-East Asia Regional Director Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, ministerial roundtable on COVID-19, progress reports on Regional Committee Resolutions to promote physical activity, reduce the harmful use of alcohol, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), measles and rubella elimination and the access to the medicines and side event on public health achievement in the region.
Dr. Poonam reported that WHO SEARO is deeply affected by the event of a global pandemic and its deep-rooted effects on the health system as well as the economy. However, WHO SEARO marked the celebration of 5 years of a polio-free region of South-East Asia and accomplishments such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan have successfully achieved control in Hepatitis B management, the development of WHO network of surveillance to eliminate Measles and Rubella by 2023, India, Nepal, Maldives, Thailand and Timor Leste are still the top 5 countries of the world with highest tobacco production, a reduction in the household pollution to improve air quality, mortality rate and also 30% reduction in maternal and childbirth mortality is expected to be achieved by 2023. Lastly, SEARO is the only region in which all of the 11 member states participated in the AMR Campaign. Dr. Poonam reaffirmed that together we must make sustained progress towards health for all.