Short introductory statement given by Dr Myint Htwe, Union Minister for Health and Sports, Myanmar, at the side event of 71st World Health Assembly, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland,
(21-26 May 2018)
“Country-led and country-owned efforts on malaria elimination to achieving universal health coverage”. Hosted by the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Laos People’s Democratic Republic, and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and cosponsored by the delegations of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Spain, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. 22 May 2018.
- Dear Honorable Ministers and delegates from the WHO Member States,
- Dr Ren Minghui, Assistant Directors-General of WHO
- Honorable Dr Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Health, Nutrition, and Indigenous Medicine Sri Lanka,
- Ms Cui Li, Vice Minister, National Health Commission, China
- WHO Regional Director from SEARO,
- Board Chair, RBM Partnership to End Malaria
- Director of Global Malaria Program
- Senior officials from APLMA
- Senior colleagues from WHO Headquarters and Regional Offices
- International donors and partners
- It is my distinct privilege to deliver a short introductory statement at the WHO side event hosted by China, Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar and other Member States.
- Under the leadership of Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Ministers of Health, Myanmar convened the “GMS Ministerial Meeting” on 8th December 2017- with full support from APLMA and WHO.
- Delegates from Ministry of Health from GMS countries, Regional Directors from SEARO, WPRO, Senior officials from APLMA and WHO attended the occasion.
- “Ministerial Call for Action to Eliminate Malaria in the Greater Mekong Sub-region before 2030” was adopted and agreed to sign during the 71st World Health Assembly.
- GMS is considered as a potential epicenter for spread of artemisinin resistance which may spill over to many other countries in the world, if not addressed seriously, appropriately and in a timely manner. Then we can formulate realistic, doable, and practical strategies and interventions without any hesitation.
- We are all aware of the fact that epidemiological situation of malaria as well as vector bionomics are always in a state of flux, including artimisinin resistance pattern.
- This fact must always be ingrained in the minds of epidemiologists, malariologists, entomologists, clinicians, and especially malaria or VBDC workers working in the field.
- Time has changed and need to transform these notions into initiatives leading to country-owned and country-led efforts along with strong political commitment and also agreeing on time bound and clear cut effort.
- Progress in malaria control has been phenomenal over the last five years or so. We are reaching a situation, where we may be able to contain the malaria problem if we are serious at this point in time.
- Malaria control is like sitting on the spring. We should not release the pressure on the parasite and vector abruptly. It can recoil uncontrollably. We need to release the pressure carefully taking into consideration all epidemiological factors and parameters.
- The declaration agreed during the meeting in Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar calls for
- Leadership action and multi-sectoral response
- Sustaining current international funding and increase domestic funding
- Practicing innovative communication
- Strengthening surveillance as core function
- Support independent monitoring and conducting drug resistance survey
- Following finalization of the content of the declaration and through further support by WHO regional offices, WHO Headquarters, APLMA, we are about to sign the declaration.
- This signing would make a historic landmark in our fight against Malaria in the Greater Mekong Sub-region before 2030.
- As a former Malariologist-cum- Epidemiologist from the Ministry of Health, Myanmar, I am proud to say that “Myanmar stands ready to beat malaria once and for all together with my counterpart Ministers in GMS countries and beyond”.
- Thank you very much.