The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday called on countries across the South-East Asia Region to take bold action to ensure people everywhere have access to safe, efficacious, quality and affordable medical products, laying particular emphasis on the need to leverage collective strengths via greater inter-country cooperation.
“Overcoming barriers and ensuring all people everywhere can access essential medicines is one of WHO South-East Asia’s priority areas of work, and is vital to achieving universal health coverage, and with it the Sustainable Development Goal of health and wellbeing for all.
“Significant progress has been made in recent years, including the creation of the South-East Asia Regulatory Network (SEARN) in 2016, which pools the Region’s regulatory resources to enhance the safety and quality of medicines.
“We need to build on that progress and strengthen regional cooperation in a range of areas to further address this critical issue,” Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said. The Regional Director affirmed WHO’s ongoing support to countries as they strive to enhance access to medicines, which is a key agenda item at the Seventieth session of the Regional Committee, which is currently being held in Maldives. The Regional Committee is the highest decision-making body for public health in the South-East Asia Region, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.