MOH News
The 6th Session of OIC Health Ministers Conference Starts
06 December 2017
Under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz - may Allah protect him - the 6th Session of OIC Health Ministers Conference Starts, hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Jeddah. At the start of the conference, chairman of the 6th Session Dr. Tawfiq Bin Fawzan Al Rabiah extended King Salman's welcome and greeting to all participants, saying: "I convey to you all the appreciation of this conference's sponsor, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz - may Allah protect him - and he wishes you all success and good stay."

"The conference's theme «Health in All Polices» reflects an immediate response to WHO's guidelines to make public health a policy and a priority in all laws and regulations to enhance health, to to combat diseases and to ensure their prevention.

Also, several countries have successfully integrated health into their policies. According to scientific studies and WHO's indicator-based reports, this trend secures a positive impact on health, the quality of life indicators, as well as disease, mortality and complications rates." added Dr. Al Rabiah. He also stressed the importance of adopting the principle of responsibility of all sectors for health, the need to put health as the first priority in all non-health sectors' policies, the need for clear-cut programs, policies, working mechanism, approach and scientific indicators to monitor such policies across all sectors. These policies in non-health sectors should also have due support, commitment and transparency by these sectors' leader and officials with the joint health responsibility.

Dr. Al Rabiah further stressed that health has become a priority in foreign policy and international relations. International and regional organizations, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), adopt a new trend called to have health as foreign and global priority.

He also said: "Accordingly, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia proposes that OIC adopts «Health in All Polices» as the theme for the 6th Session and a seventh path within the Strategic Health Program of Action (2014-2023). We also propose that OIC develop the needed mechanism to follow up the projects pursued by the Lead Country Coordinators, which should be based on agreed performance indicators to measure progress, take the necessary processes to restore track and overcome difficulties.", stated the Health Minister.

Finally, Dr. Al Rabiah extended his sincere gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for sponsoring the conference, expressing his pleasure with participating ministers of OIC Member States, and wishing that the vital conference would benefit the Islamic Nation. He also extended his thanks to members of the Health Steering Committee, the OIC General Secretariat staff headed by the Secretary General for all collaboration and efforts exerted over the past months.

From his part, OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen said; "I am pleased to welcome you all in this 6th Session of OIC Health Ministers Conference. First of all, I would like to extend my deep appreciation to the Saudi government, lead by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince - May Allah protect them - for hosting this event and hospitality. In fact, holding this conference to elaborate on one of the key modern issues embodies both support and assistance always extended by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."  He also commended the efforts exerted by the Turkish government during its presidency of the 5th Session of OIC Health Ministers Conference, as well as its active role in enhancing OIC Health Program of Action.

 He also added; "Saudi Arabic heads the OIC Health Minister Conference in a critical historical period, in which many OIC Member States face various challenges. While some Islamic states are mired by large-scale starvation and drought due to global warming, other states are smitten by torrential rains joined with floods, mudslides and property loss. Certainly, such challenges leave their negative impact on people's health, welfare and environmental balance. They also offer a favorable milieu for outbreaks of diseases, and disrupt economic activities."

He also added, "All documents of OIC strategic policies and action plans focus mainly on health, including the OIC Ten-Year Program of Action till 2025 adopted by the 13th Islamic Summit in 2016, and the OIC Program of Action for Science, Technology and Innovation 2026 adopted adopted 1st Islamic Summit on Science and Technology in 2017. Also, The OIC Strategic Health Program of Action (2014-2023) adopted in 2013 reflects the due attention paid by OIC to health."

Then, Al-Othaimeen reviewed the OIC efforts over the past three years with OIC partners, saying; "over the past three years, OIC has closely worked with its partners, including Al-Ahar, the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) under the umbrella of the Islamic Consultative Group concerned with eradication of polio, to contribute to global efforts to eradicate polio; thus, significantly reducing polio cases. This year, so far, only 15 cases have been reported in limited areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan, compared to 416 polio cases in 2013 across various countries worldwide."

He further added; "Along with Polio, we need to focus on other diseases and epidemics, such as malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS. As part of combating these three diseases, the OIC General Secretariat collaborates with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. In this regard, I would like to express my appreciation to OIC Member States, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for their generous donations to the Global Fund."

 In addition, the Secretary General stressed that one of the other key health issues is the high children mortality rates in OIC Member States. Hence, OIC is implementing a joint project with partners to reduce mother and baby mortality rates in some OIC select countries, by aligning their health systems with international best practices and recommendations. Likewise, combating a non-communicable disease, such as cancer, poses a serious challenge with various social and economic implications, mainly in developing countries. Therefore, OIC, IDB and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have signed a practical arrangement for cancer control in joint Member States. This program is designed to support certain developing countries to introduce, extend and improve their capacity in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and to boost therapeutic effectiveness. From this rostrum, I call on all Member States, financial bodies under OIC to support this program."

Al-Othaimeen also called on all Member States to consider setting up a volunteer network of Muslim doctors under OIC, to help reduce the suffering of people with health needs in OIC Member States. "If this network is established, it will greatly enhance disease prevention and control, and boost the health systems in OIC member States in line with the OIC Strategic Health Program of Action.

Then Al-Othaimeen concluded saying, "I would like to point out that OIC has developed a well-designed plan to improve health in OIC Member States. However, this plan will be effective only when led, owned, implemented and financed by Member States. So, I call on all Member States to provide the needed resources to implement the OIC Strategic Program of Action (2014-2026)."

The Assistant Director-General of WHO's Assessment and Measurement Affairs Dr. Lubna Al Ansari said; "The World Health Organization responds now to about 42 emergency cases, more than half of them are in OIC Member States, which are ravaged by scourge of conflict. Also, 5 Member States have 3rd class emergencies, out of 7 emergency cases worldwide." She further noted that "We are alarmed by the increased attacks on health facilities and health professionals in recent years.

She added; "This is an unjustifiable offense. Not country should tolerate it. Hospitals, ambulances, clinics and health professionals are not legitimate war targets. They must not be under any circumstances."

Dr. Lubna also highlighted a serious drug and health services shortage, while refugees are in dire need to save their lives, protect their honor, and ensure their human rights. Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have achieved significant progress, yet there is till more to be done. Both countries still need further support by OIC Member States in this regard.

Dr. Lubna called on all OIC Member States not to limit their support to disease eradication only, but also to enhance maternity and children health, to extend immunization activities, and prevent violence against women and children.

She finally added; "We are proud to be members of the OIC Steering Committee and to have «Health in All Polices» as the theme of our conference. This theme reflects the OIC's adoption of WHO's initiative a few years ago. I fully agree with H.E. the Saudi Health Minister for considering it the 7th path of OIC. As we have much in common, we look forward to your efforts to enhance health in your countries of over 1.6 billion Muslims."
On the other hand, the Turkish Minister of Health chairman of the 5th OIC Health Minister Conference Ahmed Damircan expressed his deep appreciation to the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques - may Allah protect him - for hosting the 6th Session. Then he reviewed the achievements of the 5th Session. After that, he handed over the presidency of the 6th Session to H.E. the Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq Al Rabiah, wishing all success for the conference. 






 



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