The 5th meeting of SAARC Health Ministers was held on 8 April 2015 in New Delhi. The meet ended with the adoption of Delhi Declaration on Public Health Challenges.
The declaration focuses on issues common to member nations of South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). These issues include universal health coverage, improving health regulatory systems, preparedness for emerging and re-emerging diseases and the challenges posed by antimicrobial resistance and non-communicable diseases.
Main highlights of the Delhi Declaration
- Agreed to strengthen cooperation on mutually agreed agreements for prevention and control of infectious diseases and for sharing of information in accordance with international health regulations
- Agreed to strengthen capacities for surveillance and monitoring of disease, rapid response and expanding diagnostic facilities
- Resolved to strengthen cooperation to promote availability and effective coverage of affordable vaccines including pentavalent vaccine and to also strengthen our response to make SAARC region polio free
- Agreed to take appropriate coordinated action which may be required to be adopted by the Member States for prevention and control of Hepatitis which is a major public health issue in the region;
- Called upon the Member States to maintain the momentum of actions under the Regional Strategy on HIV/AIDS, to achieve the 90-90-90 HIV treatment target 2020 and to rapidly reduce new HIV infection and AIDS related deaths including from tuberculosis, with a view to ending AIDS by 2030
- Welcomed the proposed SAARC Supra-national Reference laboratory for TB and HIV/AIDs, being established in Kathmandu
- Agreed to cooperate for combating mental disorders, including autism and neuro-development disorders, through a multi-pronged approach encompassing a Mental Health Policy and a life cycle approach
- Agreed to extend cooperation amongst the Member States for capacity development of human resources in public health and clinical medicine
- Agreed to attach high priority to combat anti-microbial resistance and impact of antibiotic use in agricultural and animal husbandry sectors
- Decided to enhance regional collaboration and partnership in health research among SAARC countries
- Agreed to cooperate in improving the standards, certification and regulatory mechanisms for drugs and pharmaceuticals with a view to promoting availability of quality, safe, efficacious and affordable medicines in all SAARC Member States
- Agreed to cooperate in the field of traditional systems of medicines
- Agreed to holding of annual meetings of the Technical Committee on Health and Population Activities to facilitate intra-regional cooperation and implementation of decisions taken in the earlier meetings of SAARC Health Ministers
Earlier SAARC Health Ministers were held in Maldives in 2012, Dhaka in April 2006, Islamabad in 2005 and New Delhi in 2003.