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Khaleda for quick implementation of forum decisions on health issues

Written by: Staff
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Dhaka, Apr 27 (UNI) Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has urged SAARC Health Ministers to expedite the implementation of the decisions taken by the forum in the health-population area to preserve public health in the region, particularly of the poor.

She made the suggestion while formally inaugurating the third SAARC Health Ministers Conference at Hotel Sonargaon yesterday, informing the meet about some decisions on health issues taken during the 13th SAARC Summit held in Dhaka last year.

The Prime Minister formally launched the SAARC Regional Strategy on HIV/AIDS by unfolding the cover of the strategy document.

Begum Zia, the current chairperson of SAARC, suggested that implication should be carefully considered in formulating new decisions and framing new strategies under the regional forum.

''The 13th SAARC Summit in Dhaka emphatically resolved that SAARC's third decade would be one of implementation; this means our decisions should be focused, result-oriented and time- bound,'' she told the function, also attended by representatives, delegation members and SAARC officials.

Bangladesh Health Minister Khandokar Mosharraf Hossain, Pakistan Health Minister Nasir Khan, Indian State Minister for Health Panabaka Lakshmi and SAARC Secretary General Chenkyab Dorji also spoke at the inaugural session.

Begum Zia said, ''Over the years, South Asian leadership has taken a number of decisions to improve the health and population profile of the people of this region. The last SAARC summit also came up with important decisions in that direction.'' She believed that the Health Ministers of SAARC countries would consider ways and means of implementing the summit directives.

Highlighting some concerns and decisions, the SAARC chairperson said the member-countries should take adequate preparation for preventing and controlling such health emergencies like Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) and Dengue.

Expressing happiness over the finalisation and launch of the SAARC regional strategy on HIV/AIDS, she suggested considering forming a broad-based compact between government and civil- society stakeholders to combat this terrible scourge.

The Prime Minister also underlined the need to develop regional strategies for prevention and treatment of Dengue, TB, Malaria, and other infectious diseases like Kala Azar.

Some of these diseases were fully eliminated in certain parts of this region, but they are reappearing after a few years, she noted.

''Unless all the countries initiate actions at the same time, we shall not be able to eliminate incidence of these communicable diseases for a longer period,'' she said.

Mentioning another decision to launch a regional initiative to ensure basic healthcare services and sanitation in the rural areas, she called upon the Health Ministers to consider how best to cooperate on this front.

The draft provisions agenda, which was to be approved by the SAARC Health Ministers, include mobilisation and intensification of regional action and progressive control of HIV/AIDS and Avian Influenza, exchange of views to launch a regional initiative with regard to basic healthcare services and sanitation in the rural areas, exchange of views to develop a SAARC plan of action for cooperation in Medical expertise and pharmaceuticals, and harmonisation of standards and certification procedure.

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