April 17, 2024, 12:19 am

Staff Correspondent

2023-07-12 15:29:26 BdST

PM urges int'l community to work together to attain public health goals

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday called upon the international community to work together to achieve the public health goals aiming to improve the ability of countries with fewer resources to handle their health risks.

"Now, it is the time to work together globally to achieve the public health goals outlined in Sustainable Development Goal-3 and Goal-17. This involves helping countries with fewer resources to improve their ability to handle health risks," she said.

To this end, she said that it's crucial to have a strong commitment from all countries and focused diplomatic efforts to achieve this.

The premier made the call while addressing the opening ceremony of the two-day International Conference on Public Health and Diplomacy in the city's Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh will play a leading role in this effort, considering its past success in protecting public health and dealing with the impact of the Covid pandemic.

"The Covid pandemic has shown us that we are all connected, regardless of how isolated we may feel. None of us can be truly safe until we make sure everyone is safe," she added.

For regional cooperation in greater interest, in presence of ministers and senior officials from WHO SEARO member states, the Bangladesh Prime Minister made five specific recommendations.

Firstly, she said that "We need to further coordinate our actions to ensure enhanced preparedness for and harmonized response to future health emergencies."

In her second recommendation, she laid emphasis on working together to eliminate preventable communicable diseases and share good practices on addressing the growing non-communicable disease burdens.

"We should give attention to mainstreaming mental health in our national health systems and also collaborate on fatal public health hazards like drowning and accidents," she said in her third recommendation.

Fourthly she said, "We need to mobilize our combined facilities for medical education and research, with particular focus on tackling tropical diseases further aggravated by climate impacts."

In her final recommendation, she said, "We must consider the health of our mothers, children and adolescents as the benchmark of our achievements with SDG-3, with the aim of promoting Universal Health Coverage across the region."

Sheikh Hasina urged all to work together to ensure that "Global health governance, with WHO at the center, can meaningfully serve our entire humanity in the next seventy five years and beyond. Let us help each other and share our experiences."

The WHO South-East Asia Region has 11 Member States - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque, Union Minister of Ministry of Health of Myanmar Dr Thetkhaing Win, Bhutanese Health Minister Lyonpo Dasho Dechen Wangmo, Deputy Minister of Health of the Maldives Safiyya Mohamed Saeed, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand Vijavat Israbhakdi and WHO Representative to Bangladesh Dr Bardan Jung Rana also spoke.

Health Services Division Secretary Dr Md Anwar Hossain Howlader delivered welcome speech while Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen gave introductory presentation.

At the outset, an audio-visual presentation was also screened at the opening ceremony of the conference, jointly organised by ministry of foreign affairs and ministry of health and family welfare in cooperation with WHO.

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