India along with 10 other member countries of World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) South-East Asian Regional Committee has decided to set up a dedicated fund aimed at building preparedness for health emergencies in the region.
Decision in this regard was taken at the 69th session of WHO Regional Committee Meeting held at Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka.
- The joint funding stream will be established under the South-East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund (SEARHEF).
- The new funding stream will allow these countries to invest in infrastructure and human resources that will enhance preparedness.
- It will help member countries better prepare for such events was seen by the countries as a key priority for the regional health agenda.
Besides, these countries also passed a resolution for promoting physical activity and expanding health workforces across the region.
The Regional Committee is WHO South-East Asia Region’s highest decision-making body. It comprises 11 countries – Bangladesh, South Korea, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand and Timor-Leste.
- In the recent years, earthquakes, cyclones and floods have caused health emergencies in south-east Asian region.
- It has also been threatened by a range of emerging diseases, including SARS, MERS CoV, pandemic influenza and Zika virus.
- Insufficient physical activity is also a major contributor to rising rates of non-communicable diseases in the region, with four-fifth of adolescents not getting enough of it.