Jaipur: Health ministers of 11 countries from World Health Organisation (WHO) South East Asia Regions (SEAR) met here today to review key health issues and provide policy directions for future actions.
Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in his key note address at the inaugural function said it was significant that the theme for the meeting was `Anti-Microbial Resistance`.
He noted that despite technological advancements in the field of health, there had been little development in the study of new antimicrobial agents.
“Lack of attention to this problem has the potential to become a critical impediment in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)," he cautioned.
Azad assured that the union government was fully committed to providing adequate resources to the health sector and due emphasis for the same would be made in the 12th plan.
At the meeting, the ministers also adopted a declaration to preserve the efficacy of antibiotics through rational use and regulation.
Addressing the ministers, WHO`s Regional Director for South-East Asia Samlee Plianbangchang said the growing threat from non-communicable diseases in the region was worrying.
"HIV and TB prevalence are showing a downward trend in many countries and we are very close to achieving the goal of polio eradication. However, there are still troublesome trends which need urgent attention," he said.
"It is evident that the burden of chronic non-communicable diseases is expected to rise steeply in the region during the coming decade. Most chronic diseases need long-term, or even life long treatment, which causes additional economic burden to individuals and families," said Samlee.
The trend will significantly contribute to increasing health care cost, he added.
Health ministers from Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, Indonesia, Timor Leste and DPR Korea, besides India, are attending the conference which will conclude on September 9.