“I seek your valuable support in traversing a path where we can attain the highest standards of health not only for our countries but for the entire region,” Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said here.
He was speaking at the 67th General Meeting of WHO Regional Committee meeting here.
Hasina inaugurated the annual event being attended by the health ministers from 11 countries.
A doctor by training, Vardhan gave a broad overview of healthcare in India and the region as a whole and sought Hasina’s support.
A ‘Dhaka Declaration’ for collective efforts to eliminate the vector-borne diseases would also be adopted after the meeting.
“India fully endorse the Draft Dhaka Declaration,” he said.
“Let us pledge to work together, with active support from WHO, to tackle this malady,” he said.
“We need to invest more resources into our health system and get more value for our money. We need to improve access to essential and critical medicines,” Vardhan said.
He also stressed on promoting traditional medicines and ancient healing systems like yoga.
He said his mantra for success was also “to find a way to use health issues to initiate social and community movement”.
“In my personal experience I have found tremendous value in involving adolescents and youth to communicate and disseminate messages of positive health,” a press release quoted him as saying.
“It is the power of community participation and partnership that can empower us to achieve what we seek to achieve,” it said.
“It can bring an end to preventable deaths, including child and maternal deaths,” he said, calling all South-east Asian (SEARO) countries to work together “to make a difference”.
The minister also recalled how India successfully eliminated Polio despite all the odds.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Kala-azar control was signed during the day bringing on board Bhutan and Thailand. The existing MoU covers only India, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, North Korea, India, Indonesia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste are the members of the SEARO.