1. ASEAN Health Ministers gathered in Yangon on 22 June 2006 to discuss joint initiatives with their counterparts from the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. This is the second ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers Meeting, and was preceded by a preparatory senior officials meeting on 20 June 2006.
2. The Meeting was attended by Ministers for health from ASEAN Member Countries, the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, and their respective delegations. The ASEAN Secretariat and observers from the WHO were also in attendance. The list of the ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers is attached.
Unity in Health Emergencies
3. The ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers discussed unity in health emergencies as a central theme of their meeting. The Ministers also discussed current and planned joint initiatives on health human resources development in addressing challenges and opportunities arising from closer regional integration in ASEAN, especially the impact of economic integration and trade liberalization on health development.
4. The ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers welcomed the preparation of a Strategic Framework for a second phase of the ASEAN Plus Three Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) Programme. The Ministers congratulated the ASEAN Expert Group on Communicable Diseases (AEGCD) and their Plus Three counterparts for their dedicated efforts in implementing the EID Programme’s Phase I Work Plan over August 2004 to October 2005, which had laid firm foundations in the ASEAN Plus Three countries for effective regional surveillance capacities and early warning and rapid response mechanisms for emerging infectious diseases in the region.
5. The ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers provided their endorsement for the EID Programme’s second phase activities, which would provide the ASEAN Plus Three countries with greater opportunities to share and exchange information, experience and expertise in combating threats to the health and security of their peoples. The EID Programme Phase II activities would bring the ASEAN Plus Three countries even closer in preparing for future threats of disease outbreaks, including those related to natural disasters, bio-terrorism, and pandemic influenza, as well as facilitate partnerships among existing networks and experts in the region on public and animal health.
ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation in Health
6. The ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers reaffirmed their commitment for closer collaboration in addressing key priorities for health development policy coordination, especially in meeting commitments made with regard to the International Health Regulations. The ASEAN Health Ministers also thanked their Plus Three counterparts for continued support and assistance in promoting closer cooperation among their respective health ministries.
7. The ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers acknowledged the importance of coordinating trade and health policies in pursuing economic growth with equity. The Plus Three Ministers welcomed the planned work by ASEAN Health Ministers to mount a regional initiative that would bring together health, trade and other relevant policy-makers and stakeholders in the region to discuss and develop consultative and inclusive multi-sectoral approaches for integration of healthcare into development agendas. The Plus Three Health Ministers expressed their interest for future cooperation with ASEAN in this area.
8. The ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers noted progress made in areas of focus since they first met in 2004, prioritising joint activities in areas such as health promotion; capacity building for health professionals; HIV and AIDS; traditional medicine/complementary and alternative medicine, and policy coherence for health and social welfare development concerns.
9. The ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers agreed to continue the momentum of cooperation through following joint initiatives in 2006-07. The ASEAN Ministers also invited their Plus Three counterparts to join hands with ASEAN in addressing health and nutrition promotion in the context of meeting health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and implementation of the International Health Regulations adopted in 2005, with particular focus on responding to public health emergencies of international concern.
- communicable diseases especially HIV and AIDS, and emerging infectious diseases;
- health human resources capacity-building in addressing emerging concerns for health and social welfare;
- human security and safety in health;
- integrated approaches, policies and programmes to address the health care needs of older persons; and
- traditional medicine.
Next ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers Meeting
10. The Ministers looked forward to further exchanges of views on joint collaboration in health development at their next meeting in 2008 in the Philippines.