Commonwealth ministers to meet on global health priorities - Solomon Star News

Commonwealth ministers to meet on global health priorities

19 May 2014

When they meet in Geneva this week, health ministers from across the 53-nation Commonwealth community will put national and global health policy priorities front and centre.

That will include strengthening public health systems, immunisation, nutrition, and communicable and non-communicable diseases.

The Commonwealth health ministers meeting comes as governments worldwide look to agree new targets to replace the Millennium Development Goals.

While many Commonwealth countries have made progress in such areas as child and maternal health, the lack of strong and effective public health systems means that millions of people continue to die needlessly.

According to the World Health Organization, about half the world’s population is at risk of contracting malaria, 34 million people are living with HIV, 7 million die every year from coronary heart disease, and 17 percent of children in developing countries are underweight.

The Commonwealth health ministers will hold their meeting under the theme ‘Post-2015 Health Agenda: Strengthening Health Policies and Systems.’

It takes place in Geneva, Switzerland, on the eve of the sixty-seventh World Health Assembly. Ministers will assess key health priorities in the post-2015 development agenda and how new health goals should be implemented.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said: “The Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting is an annual opportunity for our member states to share perspectives, develop partnerships, and share practical experience to strengthen public health systems and health care for citizens.

This year’s ministerial meeting will also discuss progress on schemes for elimination of blindness being undertaken by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, and progress in the growth of ‘Common Health’, the ambitious dedicated web platform to advance public health in the Commonwealth.”

Mr Sharma added: “The Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting enables the concerns and challenges of small and vulnerable states to receive focus and support.”