New Delhi: The World Health Organisation (WHO) Wednesday called for strengthening regulatory cooperation and collaboration among countries in south-east Asia to improve the availability, quality and safety of medical products.
The efforts of South East Asia Regulatory Network (SEARN), WHO, to increase access of quality medical products is crucial to achieving universal health coverage and the sustainable development goals for ensuring healthy lives for all, said Regional Director of WHO, South East Asia Region, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, addressing the annual meeting of SEARN representatives from countries of the region.
The WHO is committed to supporting the SEARN to enhance country cooperation, and in doing so, work towards sharing regulatory resources, she said.
The meeting, which will develop a five-year strategic plan of action for the network, will also review progress made on quality assurance and standards of medical products, regulatory practices, the vigilance of medical products, an Information Sharing Platform (ISP) and medical devices and diagnostics.
“As the ISP matures, I trust you will share alerts and confidential information to ensure quality medical products reach all people everywhere in our very large and diverse region,” Dr Singh said.
During the meet, the SEARN representatives will also discuss efforts to build on the decisions taken at its second annual meeting in Colombo last year and the network’s contribution to achieving the Delhi Declaration on Improving Access to Essential Medical Products, which was agreed by Ministers of Health from all the member states.
The declaration at the South-East Asia Regional Committee in September last year included a call for allocation of sufficient financial resources for essential medical products by countries, as part of overall health financing strategies to reduce out-of-pocket payments by families, and agreements to strengthen national policies, pricing, procurement, regulation and to improve access to medicines and vaccines among others.