The World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia Regional Committee (SEARO) held its 76th session from October 30 to November 2, 2023, in New Delhi, India. The event primarily focused on non-communicable disease (NCD) control programs in the region, and the ministers discussed strengthening primary health care for universal health coverage. Despite the significance of palliative care services in the region, it was not emphasized during the meeting.
A critical part of the session was the election of office bearers for the governing body, in which Saima Wazed, daughter of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Hasina, was selected as the new WHO regional director for South-East Asia. The ministers and participants also discussed the implementation and review of the program budget 2022-2023, the fourteenth general program of work (GPW14), and sustainable financing.
The session highlighted several policy and technical issues, including the regional strategic framework for ending the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), the new Regional Health Security Roadmap for 2023-2027, progress reports on monitoring universal health coverage (UHC) and health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), accelerating prevention and control of cardiovascular diseases, and data-driven policy-making.
The reports and progress of the previous Regional Committee resolutions, such as South-East Asia Regional Action Plan to implement the Global Strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol (2014-2025), challenges in polio eradication, revitalizing the school health program, and promoting physical activity, were also discussed to evaluate progress and address persistent challenges.
Finally, the committee adopted several resolutions and the report of the 76th Session, concluding the four-day event by statement from Non-State Actors, including Movandi International which was being represented this time by Ms. Radhika Shrivastav as a member of Healthy India Alliance.
(Report prepared by Dr Preeti Chauhan, Department Head – National Policy, Pallium India)