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India to host fifth meeting of SAARC health ministers

Indian will host the fifth meeting of SAARC health ministers next week to deliberate on key issues including HIV/AIDS, prevention of communicable and non-communicable diseases and to strengthen AIDScollaborations amongst the nations.

“The meeting will deliberate on a road map for strengthening collaboration among SAARC countries on a number of issues and challenges faced by them.

“Some of the prominent health issues to be discussed include prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, disease surveillance network, health infrastructure, human resources for health, immunisation for vaccine preventable diseases, HIV/AIDS, mental health and others,” an official statement said.

The health ministers will also discuss adoption of the the “Delhi Declaration” affirming their commitment to work together in identified areas and further strengthen health collaboration with agreed road map and timelines, in the meeting scheduled to take place on April 8.

Prior to the Health Ministers’ meeting, the 7th Meeting of SAARC Expert Group on HIV/AIDS, 5th Meeting of the SAARC Technical Committee on Health and Population and the 5th Meeting of the SAARC Senior Officials (Health Secretaries) will be held on April 6-7.

The 4th meeting of the SAARC Health Ministers was held at Maldives in April 2012.

Firozuddin Feroz, Public Health Minister, Afghanistan, Zahid Maleque, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Bangladesh, Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk, Minister of Health, Bhutan, Ahmed Zuhoor, Health Minister, Maldives, Khaga Raj Adhikari, Health and Population Minister, Nepal, Saira Afzal Tarar, Federal Minister of State for National Health Services, Pakistan and Rajitha Senaratne, Health Minister Sri Lanka will participate in the meeting, the statement said.

Health Ministry said that SAARC countries comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, account for nearly a quarter of the world population.

These countries face similar health challenges and issues. The purpose of the meetings is to find out ways and means to synergise collective efforts, share strategies and implement identified best practices to provide better health and a better quality of life to the citizens of SAARC countries, it said.

The meeting also signals India’s commitment to promote health cooperation in a more effective manner through the SAARC platform in keeping with the new policy of the Government to promote cooperation among the neighbouring countries, the statement added.

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