Universal healthcare issues tackled in 7th Islamic Conference of Health Ministers

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - ABU DHABI — The 7th Islamic Conference of Health Ministers (ICHM) Health Ministers was officially inaugurated Monday in Abu Dhabi with high-profile attendees featuring Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ministers of Health and high-level representatives from the OIC Member States and representatives of international organizations.

Hosted by the UAE and organized by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) in cooperation with OIC, the conference is scheduled to run until Dec. 17 under the theme “Quality of Life”.

The opening session was kicked off with a speech by Dr. Tawfiq Bin Fawzan Al Rabiah, Minister of Health, Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, in which he shed light on plans that ministries of health of member states are working on and challenges they are facing to keep pace with the changes in the health sector worldwide.

He also spoke about the direct impact of health pattern changes on the health of societies, stressing the need to take into account, when developing health polices, all issues related to universal health coverage, health emergencies, responding to public health threats, and mobilizing resources and energies to counteract antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

After taking the chair of the conference, Abdul Rahman bin Muhammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, affirmed that the UAE is doing its best to support OIC member states, through sharing its expertise in fighting health threats.

“The UAE is very keen to exchange its expertise with OIC member states in order to help implement the OIC Strategic Health Programme of Action 2014-2023 (OIC-SHPA)” the minister said.

Al Owais noted that the conference is coinciding with the UAE announcement of 2020 as the year of preparations for the next 50 (2020: towards the next 50) by the wise leadership. This represents a qualitative addition to the UAE’s efforts being made to back the OIC joint work system.

“There is no doubt the quality of life is the backbone of nations’ development and this is the reason behind the current session’s theme, which aligns with the previous session’s "Health in all policies". The 2019 conference gives the public health a priority in all systems and legislation. This is to improve health conditions, combat and prevent diseases, the minister added.

Yousef bin Ahmad AlOthaimeen, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (IOC), underlined the organization’s realization that the progress made in health is due to the countries’’ adoption of the IOC’s Strategic Work Program countries through expanding the scope of programs and adopting international partnerships to combat communicable and non-communicable diseases.

He also pointed to the creation of the Medical Body that is tasked with voluntary medical serveries to the most needed societies and victims of emergencies, as well as achieving self-sufficiency in pharmaceutical products, drug supplies and mussels as well as effective health technologies.

In a recorded speech, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), highlighted the importance of the 7th session of the Islamic Conference of Ministers of Health, which is held as part of global efforts to address health challenges and achieve the global health security. He reiterated the WHO’s willingness to promote cooperation opportunities with WHO’s member countries in dealing with diseases and response to public health requirements.

Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing and Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, highlighted the concept of the overall wellbeing adopted by the UAE Government.

She underlined the National Wellbeing Strategy 2031, which was adopted by the Cabinet, chaired by Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of .

Al Roumi said the strategy constitutes the UAE’s comprehensive concept for the wellbeing of the Emirati community members and constitutes a practical framework to achieve it. — SG

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