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India set to host SAARC health ministers meeting

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: India is engaged in preparation to host the SAARC health ministers meeting next week in New Delhi.

Health ministers of the SAARC member states would discuss key health issues including HIV/AIDS, prevention of communicable and non-communicable diseases, disease surveillance network, health infrastructure, human resources for health, immunization for vaccine preventable diseases, mental health and others.

In the fifth meeting on April 8, the ministers would also explore ways to foster cooperation among the member countries in order to overcome the outstanding challenges.

The minister would confer on adoption of the “Delhi Declaration”, promising to join hands in identified areas and foster collaboration further based on the agreed roadmap and timeline.

On April 6-7, the 7th Meeting of SAARC Expert Group on HIV/AIDS, 5th Meeting of the SAARC Technical Committee on Health and Population and the 5th Meeting of the SAARC Senior Officials (Health Secretaries) would take place.
According to the Indian health ministry, SAARC countries comprising Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka, account for nearly a quarter of the world population.

Afghan health minister Firozuddin Feroz, Bangladeshi health minister Zahid Maleque, Bhutanese health minister Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk, Maldives’ health minister Ahmed Zuhoor, Nepal’s health minister Khaga Raj Adhikari, Pakistani health minister Saira Afzal Tarar, and Sri Lankan health minister Rajitha Senaratne will participate in the meeting.

In a media statement the Indian health ministry said the SAARC member countries face same health challenges and issues. The meetings is aimed to find out ways and means to synergize joint efforts, share strategies and implement identified best practices to provide better health and a better quality of life to the citizens of SAARC countries.

The 4th meeting of the SAARC health ministers was held at Maldives in April 2012.

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