Minister of Health Dr Bounfeng Phoummalaysith chairs the annual World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee Meeting for the Western Pacific, which sees health ministers and senior officials address key health issues and priorities across 37 countries and areas.
Chairing the meeting, Minister Phoummalaysith was joined at the event by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“I would like to thank WHO for its continuing support over the last year as we have moved towards ‘living with and suppressing’ COVID-19,” Minister Phoummalaysith.
During the week, the Regional Committee is expected to endorse resolutions on issues including reaching the unreached, primary health care, noncommunicable disease prevention and control, mental health, and cervical cancer.
“The Regional Committee is an invaluable opportunity to share our experiences with other nations and learn how they are addressing challenges similar to those we face – as well as determining how WHO can best assist us in tackling these challenges and mobilize international support to do so,” said Minister.
He highlighted substantial health progress in the Lao PDR including protecting hard-to-reach populations with COVID-19 immunization and steps towards malaria elimination, improved health emergency responses, health system strengthening and enhanced community engagement. He also mentioned the challenge of ensuring the COVID-19 pandemic did not derail the country’s progress on routine immunizations, access to medicines, dengue, and maternal and child health.
“While our country faces health challenges, we should be rightly proud of the achievements we have made including a high COVID-19 vaccination rate, the near elimination of the deadliest type of malaria and elimination of lymphatic filariasis – but we have much work ahead,” he said.
During the week, Minister Phoummalaysith is expected to meet with WHO’s senior leadership and discuss the Lao PDR’s immunization efforts, as well as the country’s upcoming chairmanship of the ASEAN Health Ministers’ Meeting for 2022-2024.
Source: Lao News Agency