Health Minister: Malaysia appointed to WHO executive board for fourth time


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has once again been chosen to be on the executive board of the World Health Organisation for the Western Pacific region for a three-year period, allowing it to have a say in the making of its key policies, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.

He said with the appointment, Malaysia is one of the 34 WHO executive board members, alongside Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Tonga.

At its 149th session virtual meeting of the WHO executive board on Wednesday (June 2), conducted from Geneva, Dr Adham shared Malaysia's efforts in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

He highlighted the innovation of Hotspot Identification for Dynamic Engagement (HIDE), a system to predict specific premises at risk of becoming Covid-19 hotspots.

Dr Adham also told the other members that Malaysia supports full waivers from certain provisions of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement and any other efforts to lower the prices of medicines in the fight against Covid-19.

The TRIPS agreement is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization.

"In managing the pandemic, Malaysia has always strongly advocated public health measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

"The fundamental basis of this would be public health preparedness, active surveillance, contact tracing and constantly reminding our public to adhere to the SOPs, with Malaysia always prepared to take stern action to break the chain of transmission.

"One of Malaysia's latest innovations that have emerged through this pandemic is we developed HIDE, a big data analytics and AI system to predict specific premises that are at risk of becoming Covid-19 hotspots over a seven-day horizon.

"Access to Covid-19 vaccines, as well as other drugs for the treatment of Covid-19 positive patients, is essential.

"Malaysia takes note of the proposal from India and South Africa for a full waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of Covid-19.

"Alternatively, if this is not possible, governments should be allowed to exercise utilising compulsory license for any public health concerns under the TRIPS agreement.

"It will be beneficial since it will create competitive market pricing, and hence can lower the price for all related products including medicines," said Dr Adham.

Malaysia previously served as an executive board member thrice.

Dr Adham also stated the need for WHO to prioritise efforts towards making safe and affordable surgery as part of the global health agenda.

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