NAM Health Ministers Meeting reiterates commitment to address health challenges

Non-Aligned Movement has stressed the importance of health as an important constituent of sustainable development. This is in line with Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which states that ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development. NAM Member States have actively cooperated with various mechanisms and programs of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the specialised agency of the United Nations concerned with international public health.

NAM health meetings are an important platform representing the developing countries in multilateral health forums. During the 72nd World Health Assembly (WHA) of World Health Organization held in Geneva in May 2019, NAM Member States reiterated their commitment and determination to fully implement the various global health strategies in such a way so as to protect the interests of the developing nations. The 12th Meeting of the NAM Ministers of Health was also held as a side event during the 72nd WHA.

NAM Health Ministers emphasised that enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition. They expressed concern at the fact that more than 400 million people lack access to basic health services and 40% of the world’s population does not have social protection. They called for countries to work together to accelerate the transformation of health systems, to help countries move towards Universal Health, in pursuance of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

NAM Health Ministers noted that making progress on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is critical to address goal number 3 and other goals in the 2030 Agenda, and called for intensified cooperation and support to achieve such objectives. In accordance with this, it was stressed that UHC incorporating the principles of primary health care and sustainability, is an instrument for improving the resilience of health systems and supports communities to realize health objectives better.

The Health Ministers stressed the need for concerted action and a coherent response at the national, regional and global levels in order to adequately address the challenges to sustainable development posed by non-communicable diseases to nations, in particular, the most prominent ones, including mental health disorders, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, obesity, and diabetes. They also expressed concern at the global threat posed by health epidemics, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases and called for enhanced cooperation at the national, regional and international levels to confront and combat these scourges.

The 12th NAM Health Ministers Meeting also allayed concern on the rising trend of the migration of the health workers from developing countries. NAM Health Ministers welcomed the adoption of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel, which urges the States to discourage active recruitment of health personnel from developing countries facing critical shortages of health workers.

NAM Health Ministers also highlighted the health challenges faced by the refugees and migrants and highlighted the need to ensure access to health care by migrants in the framework of the broader agenda on migration and development. They also stressed the importance of Resolution 70/15 adapted during the 70th WHA on 31 May 2017 on the promotion of the health of refugees and migrants.

Resolution 70/15 calls for identification and collection of evidence-based information, best practices and lessons learned in addressing the health needs of refugees and migrants in order to contribute to the development of a draft global action plan on promoting the health of refugees and migrants. The Resolution also calls for providing necessary health-related assistance through bilateral and international cooperation to those countries hosting and receiving large populations of refugees and migrants.

NAM Health Ministers also reaffirmed the role of South-South cooperation in the health sector. They also stressed the importance of triangular cooperation, allowing for the mobilization of additional necessary resources for the implementation of health-related development programs and reaching universal health coverage.

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