Countries should build capacities to face disasters: Azad

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Ghulam Nabi Azad
New Delhi, Mar 16: Observing that the South East Asian region was far more vulnerable to natural disasters than others, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today said it was imperative to build capacities in countries to resiliently face disasters like the quake and subsequent Tsunami in Japan.

"The Tsunami that barreled into Japan, is also a rude reminder to all of us, that natural disasters can, in minutes, wipe-out any progress made towards improving the living standards and lifestyles of our people," Azad said while inaugurating a three-day meeting of the ''Partners for Health in South East Asia''.

He said that countries which have the resources are able to mitigate the after effects. Resource constrained countries resort to symptomatic mitigation largely driven by international aid.

"Therefore, it is imperative that we build capacities in our countries and communities to resiliently face such disasters," he said, adding that it was more important for those living in South East Asia because as a region, it was far more vulnerable to the vagaries of nature.

"As policy makers we have to tackle these growing issues comprehensively," the minister said.

He said the Millennium Development Goals have influenced all bilateral and multilateral dialogue and influenced domestic policies of many countries.

"Over the years, India has revised its own policies and strategies with the aim to achieve the MDGs related to health," he said. Azad said that on MDG-VI, India has made impressive gains.

"As against a projected figure of five million HIV/AID patients in the country, the current numbers are 2.3 million and these numbers have started showing a declining trend," he said.

Against the MDG target of mortality reduction by 50 per cent by 2015, we have already achieved a 68 per cent reduction, the minister added.

PTI

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