Im­prov­ing ac­cess to es­sen­tial med­i­cal prod­ucts in the re­gion and be­yond

Bhutan Times - - Home - Staff Re­porter

Adel­e­ga­tion of se­nior of­fi­cials led by the Ad­vi­sor to the Min­istry of Health Aum Kin­ley Yang­zom will be at­tend­ing the seventy first ses­sion of the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) Re­gional Com­mit­tee for South- East Asia in New Delhi, In­dia from tomorrow.

The Re­gional Com­mit­tee for South- East Asia is the WHO’s gov­ern­ing body in the South- East Re­gion, with rep­re­sen­ta­tion from all 11 mem­ber states of the re­gion.

The WHO Re­gional Com­mit­tee con­venes once ev­ery year to re­view and dis­cuss progress in the health de­vel­op­ment and pub­lic health is­sues im­por­tant to the re­gions, among oth­ers. The Re­gional Com­mit­tee also sets pol­icy and ap­prove pro­gramme bud­get of WHO.

This ses­sion of the WHO Re­gional Com­mit­tee for South- East Asia will de­lib­er­ate on im­prov­ing ac­cess to medicines dur­ing the min­is­te­rial round­table. To this ef­fect, the 11 mem­ber states of WHO South­East Asia Re­gion will adopt a dec­la­ra­tion on im­prov­ing ac­cess to es­sen­tial med­i­cal prod­ucts, elec­tion of the Re­gional Di­rec­tor of World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion South- East Asia Re­gional Of­fice and de­lib­er­ate on other tech­ni­cal and pro­gram­matic is­sues.

High on the agenda is the need for im­prov­ing ac­cess to es­sen­tial med­i­cal prod­ucts in the re­gion and be­yond.

In or­der to make progress to­wards uni­ver­sal health cov­er­age (UHC), more eq­ui­table ac­cess to es­sen­tial med­i­cal prod­ucts (medicines, vac­cines, and di­ag­nos­tics and med­i­cal de­vices) is needed.

Ac­cord­ing to WHO de­spite some progress in the past 10 years, it has not been uni­form and chal­lenges re­main in avail­abil­ity, qual­ity and af­ford­abil­ity. The mar­kets for med­i­cal prod­ucts have changed in re­cent years. De­mand has ex­panded, with new health care needs from non com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases and age­ing pop­u­la­tions, and as ef­fec­tive new ther­a­pies has be­come avail­able. The south Asian re­gion is now a ma­jor man­u­fac­turer of med­i­cal prod­ucts world­wide, pri­mar­ily generic medicines and vac­cines. This means there are new op­por­tu­ni­ties for im­prov­ing ac­cess-through both in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive coun­try ac­tion-with ben­e­fits within the re­gion and be­yond. Progress will in­volve a wide range of stake­hold­ers within and be­yond min­istries of health.

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