CEBU CITY: The chair of the APEC health working growth said he hopes that the initiative for a Healthy Asia Pacific will be discussed in the meetings here in Cebu during the 5th APEC High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy.
“At last year’s meeting the Healthy Asia Pacific Initiative was adopted setting strategic direction for an APEC health cooperation agenda in the coming five years,” Dr. Li Mingzhu, the chair of the APEC Health Working Group, said in his welcome remarks at the opening of the high-level meeting on health.
“Building on the past achievements and the consensus reached, we expected to continue this momentum by developing the Healthy Asia Pacific 2020 roadmap and we hope that it can be discussed in this meeting,” he said noting that the initiative was submmited to the 2014 economic ministers and was listed in the leaders’ declaration.
According to Dr. Li, the essence of Healthy Asia Pacific 2020 is to call on APEC economies to develop sustainable and high performing health systems by adopting health in all policies of government and society to achieve an effective healthcare system.
Achieving the goals of Healthy Asia Pacific 2020 requires strong government commitment and leadership, he noted.
Dr. Li also pointed that understanding the value of health to economic growth and development should be enhanced across different sectors of government.
“To ensure better health requires an overall health care expenditure consistent with rising levels of economic development. And healthcare requires healthcare resources that should be allocated effectively,” he said.
Dr. Li also acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead. He said that as 2015 comes to a close, there are Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that remain unaccomplished.
“We need to continue the unfinished business of the MDGs in the context of universal healthcare,” he stressed.
Among Dr. Li’s suggestions include increasing APEC member economies investment in the health of their populations at all stages of life. He also highlighted the need to develop a sustainable healthcare financing systems and promote social protection.
APEC member economies also need to enhance regional cooperation in health security to be better prepared for health emergencies.
“There are many more health issues that need to be addressed therefore we need your insights and your solutions,” he told the APEC delegates on health.
The two-day high-level meeting on health and the economy opened Sunday at the Waterfront Hotel here in Cebu City. PND (as)