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SAARC Secretariat authorised to seek assistance

Written by: Staff

Dhaka, Apr 27 :The third meeting of the Health Ministers of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) authorised the SAARC Secretariat would be able to seek assistance from development partners and organisations in addition to the forum's own fund to resolve the health challenges faced by its member states.

''SAARC has its own fund with contributions from the member states The SAARC Secretariat has been authorised to seek assistance from the developing partners and organisations to help resolve the health problems of the SAARC countries,'' Bangladesh Health Minister Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said yesterday while addressing a press conference after the meeting.

The meeting was attended by Health Ministers of Bhutan and Pakistan, State Minister for Health of India, Deputy Health Ministers from the Maldives and Bhutan, and Health Secretary of Nepal.

Talking to the reporters, Dr Hossain, who chaired the meeting, hoped that all the health problems facing by the forum's members could be solved. ''The health problems facing by the SAARC member states are the same. We do hope we'll be able to resolve those.'' The proposal for establishing a SAARC Diseases Surveillance Centre and Rapid Deployment Health Response System would be finalised at a meeting in the Indian capital of Delhi, he said.

Replying to a query, Dr Hossain said yesterday the launching of SAARC Strategy to combat HIV/AIDS is the biggest progress made between the second and third meetings of the SAARC Health Ministers.

He said in order to advance further the health development of South Asian People the SAARC Health Ministers adopted Dhaka Declaration recognising the importance of earlier decisions taken in the first and second meetings of SAARC Health Ministers to tackle various health challenges in the region.

The SAARC Health Ministers acknowledged the immediate threats posed by bird-flu and the impending threat of pandemic influenza.

They called upon the member states to take concrete actions to implement the work plan for 2006-2010 developed under the Regional Strategy on HIV/AIDS.

Affirming full political commitment to the realisation of SAARC Development Goals (SDGs), the ministerial meeting also decided to convene a regional expert group meeting from health and other relevant ministries to develop soon an influenza preparedness strategy covering both animal and human health.

The ministers directed the technical committee on health and population activities to undertake the preparation of an action plan on cooperation in medical expertise and pharmaceuticals, harmonisation of standards and certification procedures and production of affordable medicines as well as traditional medicines.

The committee was also directed to prepare guidelines for a regional initiative on basic healthcare services, nutrition, safe water and sanitation, particularly in rural areas.


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