The THD HelpDesk, Bangkok: All the member countries of WHO South-East Asia region have come together in the fight for COVID-19 and have signed a declaration on 10th of September, 2020. The aim is to strengthen the healthcare facilities to provide adequate medical protection measures in light of the ongoing Pandemic to the people.
The Declaration was signed at the end of a ministerial round table on the second and last day of the Seventy-third Regional Committee Session, hosted by Thailand, and held virtually for the first time due to COVID-19 Pandemic. During the round table, inputs were taken from all the countries on the maintenance of the healthcare amenities in the respective countries and the measures taken for those who were impacted by the Pandemic.
All the countries agreed on the significance to maintain public healthcare facilities and primary health care as a non-negotiable requirement to be established. And it shouldn’t be limited to the affected people of the Pandemic, including even the most vulnerable strata of the population.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday,
“The spread of COVID-19 has impacted almost every community, overwhelmed health systems and disrupted economies and livelihoods with effects reaching far beyond the health sector. It has also disproportionately impacted the most vulnerable. WHO recently surveyed countries to understand better the priorities in the South East Asia Region. At the top of the agenda is maintaining essential health services.”
The Declaration was titled, ‘Collective Response to COVID-19’ and on signing it, WHO South-East Asia Region, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said
“People’s ordinary health needs do not disappear during such extraordinary events. Health security is not only about building capacity to prevent, prepare for and respond to acute events. It must also be about building capacity to maintain essential health services for the duration of response and into the recovery.”
The Declaration has embarked upon efforts from the countries to sustain essential health services and public health programs during public health emergencies. It has also emphasized the need to strengthen the healthcare system of the respective countries in the face of the Pandemic.
The Countries also agreed to allocate adequate budgets to ensure health as the top priority during and beyond the Pandemic.
Some of the key pointers the countries agreed upon are as follows:
- The need to strengthen digital technologies that capture and show the adequate coverage of outbreaks and share the information for policymaking.
- To ensure occupational health, safety, and well-being of health professionals and other related workers.
- Strengthening the safety of patients and the people through adequate public health and social measures and access to quality personal protective devices.
- Strengthening occupational and environmental safety through medical waste management systems.
- Also, efforts to be put in making biomedical and systems research stronger.
- Need to continue and expand multi-sectoral collaboration
- To strengthen regional collaboration for scaling up capacities for preparedness, surveillance and rapid response, field epidemiology training, supply chain management of medicines and medical supplies
- Also, to focus on regional stockpiling of essential health resources.
Speaking to Health Ministers of the 11 Member States, Dr Khetrapal Singh said, “Continued efforts should be made to keep health workers safe from infection and violence and to provide mental health and psychosocial support.”
“All people, all sectors, all countries and all partners must come together to strengthen the response and build a recovery and future that is more health secure, and in which all people’s health needs are met as a precondition to achieving the sustainable development to which we strive.”
It has become increasingly significant in the light of the Pandemic to become united and strengthen the healthcare amenities to put up a good fight for the disease. It is important that in every country, the health system is given priority and is made accessible to every individual. That’s why the South-East nation members of WHO came together to sign the Declaration as a positive step forward.