Crucial to continue to invest in fortifying health system, says Brunei Minister of Health

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham and other Health MInistry officials during the virtual meeting from his office in Bandar Seri Begawan. -- Borneo Bulletin/ANN

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, May 24 (Borneo Bulletin/ANN): Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham Haji Jaafar voiced Brunei’s support for the theme of the recent Commonwealth Ministerial Meeting, in ensuring equitable access to vaccines and actions towards developing the resilience of the health and emergency systems.

The minister stated that the challenges in the continuous supply of medicine and vaccines, caused by several factors, including the ageing population, limited funding, supply chain issues, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and more so at this time where export bans and controls movements affect the movement of medical supply commodities and vaccines.

He emphasised the importance of the role of facilities such as COVAX in ensuring fair and equitable access for all, while adding that systematic and integrated cooperation among Commonwealth countries is essential in assisting Commonwealth citizens.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham underlined that although Brunei Darussalam has gone past a year without cases of local transmission of Covid-19, vigilance is still being reinforced.

The Sultanate is committed to consistently ensuring the sustainability of the health system, addressing any public health emergencies, and providing basic health services in line with the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) mission.

The Covid-19 pandemic has already threatened progress towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), so it is important for each member country to continue to invest in strengthening capacity and health systems.

The Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting 2021 was held virtually on May 20-21, under the theme ‘Commonwealth response to Covid-19: Ensuring equitable access to vaccines and building resilience for health systems and emergencies’.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham and Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the MoH Dr Haji Zulaidi Haji Abdul Latif represented Brunei Darussalam at the meeting.

The meeting’s main objectives were to share experiences and best practices, as well as strategies in sustainable recovery and ensure preparedness in dealing with pandemics; identify priorities for coordinated action with respect to access to equitable vaccines and strengthening the health system; examining the progress of the mandate for reducing malaria by half in Commonwealth countries by 2023 and achieving access to quality vision care for all; harmonising health policy priorities, including those for cervical cancer and NCDs; and examining the resilience of the health system by investing in the health workforce, especially among low- and middle-income countries. - Borneo Bulletin/ANN

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