WHO meeting in Hanoi reviews work in region

Prevention of violence, injury and non-communicable tropical diseases were part of the discussions to determine a future direction at a meeting of representatives from 37 countries from the Western Pacific, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Hanoi from September 24-28.

Addressing the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific Region, Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan said that this is the first time that Vietnam has had the honor to organize a meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Western Pacific Region, which showed their high appreciation of Vietnam.

Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien conveyed her thanks to WHO and partners for their assistance in the last 40 years, through their support in training medical staff and transferring techniques as well as helping build medical development strategies, open vaccination campaigns and prevention of diseases such as SARS, bird flu, H1N1, tuberculosis, malaria, non-communicable diseases and public medical projects.

Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director, applauded the country for its medical achievements and policies which helped improve public healthcare.

Shin enumerated other challenges confronting the Region and actions being taken in collaboration with member states. WHO supports development of a healthy environment and efforts to raise prices and taxes on tobacco products to deter use of tobacco, a main cause for non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancer. 

WHO works with ministries of health and partners in developing multi-sectoral national action plans and trains healthcare workers on essential services in addressing non-communicable diseases, which are responsible for four out of five deaths in the region.

Besides, WHO has redoubled efforts to eliminate vaccine preventable diseases, such as measles. During the first six months of this year, there was a further decline by 60 percent in measles cases as against the same period in 2011.

Moreover, WHO continues to support Member States in implementing the International Health Regulations to help countries prevent and respond to acute public health risks that have the potential to cross borders and threaten people worldwide.

In addition, WHO has intensified efforts to help more than 90 million visually impaired people in the Region by addressing the main causes, like cataract and trachoma, and supporting countries in developing national action plans and integrating eye care into the primary healthcare system.

WHO has supported the Governments of the Philippines and Vietnam in their efforts for universal health coverage to bring health services reach the country's poor.

On the afternoon of September 24, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien and WHO Regional Director Shin Young-soo co-organized a forum on health insurance. In the forum, it was reported that 64 percent of Vietnamese people have health insurance while other developed countries in the world spend tens of years to carry out this task.

Accordingly, the United Nations has decided to choose Vietnam as a good role model for other nations to follow.

By K. Nguyen - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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