MOH News
Meetings of WHO' Regional Committee Concluded
30 October 2013
The meeting of the WHO Sixtieth Session of the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Committee held in Muscat was concluded today (Wednesday); given that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has participated with a delegation headed by His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah and 22 Health Ministers of other countries, in addition to the participation of a large number of consultants, experts and representatives belonging to international bodies and associations, as well as the UN agencies, and other non-governmental organizations. The participants concluded the meeting with a number of recommendations, including:
  • Urging the member states to consider the possibility of increasing the number of contributions through the collective action in the governing bodies. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged the member states to join the Vaccine Purchase System, and sign a memorandum of understanding with the World Health Organization and UNICEF to complete the process of participation by March 2014. Also, the WHO called upon the member states to develop ambitious annual targets for HIV testing and treatment, and to take urgent actions to accelerate the process of treatment, and completely beat the virus.
  • Establishing a powerful system for surveillance of antimicrobial resistance, including the clinical and laboratory surveillance; in order to ensure enforcement of rules and regulations regarding the rational use of antimicrobials at all levels; that is to be added to adopting the experience gained from the 2014-2015 field planning in the region, and playing an active role in proposing ways to improve the way of planning the 2016-2017 program budget from A to Z.
  • Inviting the participants in the first phase of the planning process of the biennium 2016-2017 to allocate an open financial source to countries in the process of setting priorities without making any subdivisions by categories, provided that no detailed budget is offered except in the subsequent phase as a result of initial planning on the country level.
  • The Regional Director asked to support the member states in their endeavors to prepare strategies and methods of service delivery and implementation in order to treat AIDS rapidly within the framework of WHO recommendations and the UN joint program to combat AIDS, as mentioned in the regional report for accelerating treatment of HIV; that is to be added to encouraging planning of the biennium 2016-2017, which includes the three groups in the Organization, so that each group can adhere to its rules and functions. Also, the Regional Director urged the member states to improve surveillance mechanisms and assess progress in the upon-agreed commitments.
  • Announcing the new spread of the wild poliovirus on the international level as an emergency case among all member states. The WHO emphasizes also that the polio virus in Pakistan is endemic, and invites it to take the necessary steps to ensure access to all children and vaccinating them. In the same vein, the WHO demands the Arab Republic of Syria and the neighboring countries to coordinate together to launch intensive mass vaccination campaigns using the most appropriate means and vaccines to stop this new fascism within six months.
  • Coordinating with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa to ensure rapid stop of the outbreak in Africa, particularly in Somalia, and to protect the neighboring countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region, Sudan and Yemen. The region countries urged member states to provide all possible support to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and the Syrian Arab Republic so that children of these countries can be vaccinated against polio. Also, the member states were asked to work on monitoring cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and polio, improving efforts to be applied in cases of emergencies, and providing more political, financial, and technical support for regional response plans of emergencies.
  • Holding an extraordinary meeting for health leaders in the East Mediterranean Region by January 2014 at the most to measure the response to emergencies and planning for corrective actions. In addition, the participants in the meeting recommended informing the member states of the necessary steps to be taken in cases of emergency and approving the health and environment regional strategy (2014-2019) and its framework in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, and Creating a mechanism for the implementation and adoption of this strategy, and to include environmental concerns into national policies, strategies and action plans of public health. The participants asked also to strengthen the institutional capacities of health ministries, so that they can play a leading role in management, regulation and surveillance in the health and environment areas; that is to be added to achieving synergies among the work of the concerned parties in the relevant sectors and service providers in order to protect the health sector from any environmental risks, given that this can be achieved through adopting a collaborative and multi-sector mechanism, and Providing technical support to the member states in order to help them implement the health and environment regional strategy; that is to be added to launching partnerships with UN's organizations and concerned parties to facilitate the implementation of the strategy. In addition, the participants suggested preparing a report on progress achieved in the strategy; in order to be submitted to the Regional Committee every two years until 2019.
  • Achieving comprehensive health coverage to ensure that all people receive high-level health services without exposure to the risk of financial distress. The meeting urged also to achieve the objectives of the health system and develop national strategies for financing the sector. Moreover, the participants in the meeting asked to provide the needed technical support with the aim to prepare a vision, strategy, and a roadmap for each country. The participants said that comprehensive health coverage can be achieved through holding a comprehensive and effective dialogue over policies, helping the member states to conduct required diagnostic and analytical procedures, and exchanging experiences and mutual learning. In addition, the participants suggested providing the member states with required resources, and submitting results to the Regional Committee within two years.
  • Approving the proposed regional strategy to improve the civil affairs and vital statistics registration system (2014-2019), and urging the member states to give priority to strengthening this vital system. The attendants in the meeting suggested also preparing a multi-sector national strategy to improve the civil affairs and vital statistics registration system based on the results of in-depth evaluation of the system. Strengthening infrastructure and capacities of health ministries, and developing regulations and procedures needed to ensure the quality standards of medical certification. Furthermore, the participants recommended encoding causes of deaths using the International Classification of Diseases. Providing technical support for member states to help them implement the regional strategy, and launching partnerships with UN's organizations and concerned parties to facilitate the implementation of the strategy. In addition, the participants suggested preparing a report on progress achieved in the strategy; in order to be submitted to the Regional Committee every two years until 2019.
  • Urging the member states to hold consultations with their permanent representatives to the United Nations in New York and Geneva on the scope of the comprehensive review and evaluation to be conducted by the General Assembly in 2014; that is to be added to the ways to conducting such comprehensive review and evaluation, their form, and organizational arrangements. The chairman of the General Assembly of the United Nations is requested, through diplomatic channels, to consider holding a high-level meeting, with the participation of heads of states and governments, on the comprehensive review and evaluation. This meeting is to be held on the sidelines of the general debate of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations scheduled for September 2014. In addition, the chairman of the General Assembly of the United Nations is requested to consider the appointment of a representative from the office of the World Health Organization for the Eastern Mediterranean region to take the role of one of the two facilitators who are responsible for coordinating preparations for the comprehensive review and evaluation of 2014.
  • The member states were also recommended to review the suggested list of the core indicators, propose optional indicators, and prepare a national plan to strengthen the national health information systems.
    Member states were also asked to provide skilled manpower and adequate financial resources, and establish a national health observatory for strengthening distribution of information and data and making use of them. The participants in the meeting suggested also institutionalizing population surveys conducted on facilities with the aim to improve the production of reliable data and provide technical support to member states to help them develop national plans aiming at strengthening national health information systems. Also, it was suggested to hold a meeting comprising the national concerned parties during the first half of 2014 to discuss and approve the final list of indicators.
  • Adopting Dubai Declaration on Maternal and Child Health, launched under the theme: “Together to Overcome the Challenge”, in which health ministers, representatives of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, as well as the representatives of United Nations agencies and the national regional, and international institutions stressed on the importance of saving the lives of both mothers and children.
  • Taking into account that comprehensive access to the high-quality primary health care is a human right according to the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978. Meanwhile, the attendants recalled that improving the health of mothers, adolescents and children is key to achievement of development goals, noting that maternal and child health is at the core of multiple international agreements and strategies, including the United Nations Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, Global Commitment to Child Survival, and the recommendations of the UN Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children’s Health.
  • Acknowledging that still almost one million mothers and children die each year in our countries from mainly preventable causes. It was noticed also that some countries in our Region face critical challenges in improving the situation of mothers, adolescents and children, particularly humanitarian and social crises, and recognizing the widening inequities in access to basic social services for vulnerable populations and resource distribution between and within countries. Inspired by many examples of success in this Region and globally, we reaffirm previous commitments aimed at improving the health of our mothers, adolescents and children and the social development of our countries.
  • Committing to implement the regional initiative for saving the lives of mothers and children: “Together to Overcome the Challenge” to accelerate progress towards MDGs 4 and 5 in our countries, with participation of key stakeholders, including parliamentarians, community leaders, civil society organizations, private sector, academia and health professionals. Developing, launching and executing a national (or, if appropriate, sub national) multisectoral plan for maternal, adolescent and child health with clear coverage targets for an agreed package of interventions across the continuum of care. These include immunization and other preventive services as well as reproductive health care services, with clear outcomes and resource allocations as part of the national or sub national health plan. Addressing social and environmental determinants of maternal, adolescent, newborn and child health, such as poverty, gender, water and sanitation, nutrition and education through strengthened multisectoral initiatives including community involvement.
  • Taking measurable steps to strengthen our health systems and vital statistics, improving information systems for quality of data, particularly through better civil registration; building a skilled workforce, and improving availability of safe and effective life-saving commodities with a view to removing barriers and bottlenecks and providing equitable access to maternal, adolescent, newborn and child health services. Prioritizing maternal, adolescent and child health in the design and implementation of humanitarian action and preparedness programs. Establishing sustainable financing mechanisms, mobilizing domestic and international resources through traditional and innovative approaches, strengthening regional solidarity and increasing budgets for better health outcomes for all mothers, adolescents and children. Improving coordination and accountability between all partners – state and non-state - and promoting cooperation between countries within the region to increase international exchange of experiences on good practices and lessons learned.
  • Monitoring progress on the regional initiative for saving the lives of mothers and children by applying the recommendations outlined in the framework for women’s and children’s health of the UN Commission on Information and Accountability in support of the UN Global Strategy and related initiatives, and establishing a regional commission on women’s, adolescents’ and children’s health with representation of all concerned institutions to accelerate and track progress on MDGs 4 and 5.
  • Pledging to accelerate progress on maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health through national action and international cooperation. We hold ourselves accountable for our collective progress towards this goal. And on behalf of all mothers, adolescents and children in the Region, we recommit to give every woman the best opportunity for safe delivery so that every child has the best possible start in life. Urging the countries that bear a serious burden to strengthen the multisectoral partnership in order to implement their national plans to accelerate progress, and allocating human and financial resources needed to mobilize additional resources, when necessary.



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