Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe attends 73rd session of WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia

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Union Minister for Health and Sports Dr Myint Htwe and officials join the 73rd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Southeast Asia on 9 September. PHOTO:MNA

Union Minister for Health and Sports Dr Myint Htwe attended the first day of the 73rd session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Southeast Asia on 9 September through videoconferencing. The session was chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand and the Minister for Public Health Mr Arutin Chernvirakul, Vice-Chairman and Minister for Health and Population of Nepal Mr Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal.
During the session, WHO Regional Director Mrs Poonan Khetrapal Singh discussed the organization’s annual report on activities in Southeast Asia in 2019. Director-General for WHO Dr Tedros Adhanom discussed the current COVID-19 outbreak in the world and plans for further WHO support.
Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe commented on the annual report of the South-East Asia Regional Office that the challenges and lessons learned from the report must be taken into account of the next two-year action plan of the South-East Regional Office and he urged to study the contents of the report and to consider to have a significant impact on the public health sector in the respective countries by taking technical assistance from WHO and to give practical advice to the regional office to make the WHO assistance more effective.
The Union Minister said that the regional office should carefully review the last three years’ reports on how to effectively improve the work of the WHO; whether the funds allocated to member countries were being used effectively and the challenges we all needed to overcome; review on how WHO was cooperating with GAVI, Global Fund, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNAIDS and other development partner organizations; to pay attention to how the organizations were connecting with each other; to draw up a framework for external assistance in a two-year work plan for the coming years to ensure that aid to member countries does not overlap unnecessarily and to use the effective support of the WHO to develop the respective countries’ public health sector. The representatives of WHO and the Health Ministers and Superior Officers of South-East Asia Regions such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, North Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor Leste joined the ceremony together with the Ambassadors in India and Thailand, Director-General of WHO, Regional Director for South-East Asia, UN organizations and International Non-governmental Organizations.
On the second day of the session, the Health Ministers held roundtable regarding the new normal lifestyle in post-COVID-19 period under the topic like experiences and lessons of South East-Asia regions, healthcare systems during COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing public health services and Director-General Dr Thar Tun Kyaw briefed the experiences of Myanmar.
Then, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom and WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia Dr Phoonan Ketrapal Singh pledged that WHO will keep cooperating with the regional countries in conducting the COVID-19 response measures. Thailand, alternative host country, announced the Ministerial Declaration on collective response to COVID-19 and all the Health Ministers of 11 South East-Asia member regions agreed with it.
A ceremony to give certificates of honour to the outstanding South East-Asia countries for public health was held and Myanmar received a certificate for eliminating a public health problem, the Trachoma. WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia Dr Phoonan Ketrapal Singh gave the certificate to Union Minster Dr Myint Htwe. WHO Director-General, Director-General and Director for South-East Asia Regions, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand and Minister for Public Health delivered the concluding speech.—MNA (Translated by Ei Phyu Phyu Aung and Khine Thazin Han)

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