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Malaysia hopes to bring resolution to WHO

Malaysia hopes to bring resolution to WHO

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia hopes for more members of the executive board of the World Health Organization (WHO) to support the resolution on ‘Behavioral Science for Better Health’ proposed by the country at its 152nd meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, last Feb 3.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa , who was given the honour to chair the meeting after being appointed as the vice-chairman of the WHO Executive Board representing the Western Pacific region for 2023-2024, said several members of the WHO executive board such as Qatar, the Maldives and Japan had agreed to support the resolution.

She said the resolution, when accepted by the WHO executive board, would be brought to the World Health Assembly (WHA) to be held in May in Geneva.

“If the resolution is accepted and subsequently becomes the main item in WHO, it will be a recognition for Malaysia in international health or global health,“ she said in an interview with the media here.

Elaborating on the resolution, Dr Zaliha said it concerned human behavior towards creating better health.

“For example, in the management of infectious diseases such as the Covid-19 outbreak, understanding the behavior and response of the disease and the infected people scientifically helps in efforts to contain the spread of the disease,” she said.

Besides tabling several resolutions at the meeting, Dr Zaliha said she also exchanged views with several members of the executive board on health issues, including our health workers being overworked, but underpaid.

“This has a lot to do with the budget allocation, where the Ministry of Health receives approximately 2.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product from the Ministry of Finance. During my discussion with other countries, some of them received 10 per cent (allocation in the budget) for their health system,” she said.

Last Feb 3, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said Dr Zaliha became the first Malaysian Health Minister to be honored to chair the WHO Executive Board meeting and it was the first time in the country’s health history.

The WHO Executive Board meeting is a regular meeting attended by health ministers, directors-general and experts in the field of health.

It is a platform to discuss commitments, policies, programme implementation status and the direction of the health sector that has been agreed upon by consensus under the WHO.

Meanwhile, Dr Zaliha said Malaysia will learn from the United States how the country can be declared an endemic country next May.

“Perhaps there are things that we can learn from the US, what are the indices they have gone through and taken into account as a factor to declare the country free of Covid-19,“ she said. –Bernama