Brunei to play key role in regional health agenda

National 1 minute, 40 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

BRUNEI will play a key role in determining the health agenda in the region as ASEAN looks to implement its Economic Community (AEC) next year, said Malaysia’s Health Minister.

With the sultanate chairing the ASEAN Health Ministerial Meeting next year, Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam said there was “tremendous room” for cooperation on health issues among the 10 member states, as they face similar challenges.

“We face a lot of common diseases and illnesses with communicable diseases like dengue, malaria and tubercolosis... with a notable rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as well,” said the Malaysian minister at a press conference to mark the end of the Seventh Health Ministerial Bilateral Meeting between Brunei and Malaysia.

“We (ASEAN) need to structure ourselves so that common health issues that affect the region as a whole can be handled together in a collaborative and cooperative way,” he said.

“Brunei as the chair, could form the initial point in “determining the direction of cooperation in the sector of health within ASEAN itself, especially the agenda for the community post-2015,” he added.

Yesterday’s ministerial meeting, preceded by bilateral meetings between senior health officials on Monday, saw discussions on a national, regional and global level.

Brunei’s Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Md Yusof said both countries had agreed to establish a new area of cooperation on health enforcement, recognising the importance of an “effective health regulatory framework”.

Both countries also agreed to include mental health as an area of co-operation under NCDs, recognising that health and well-being not only encompasses physical ailments.

Datuk Dr S Subramanian added that the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa was mentioned, with both countries listing the steps to prevent the virus from reaching their borders and what steps can be taken if it does.

Food safety, pharmaceuticals, ICT, health tourism and the cross-border transfer of patients were among the other issues discussed.

The Brunei Times