Health Ministers from APEC economies have formulated a new set of health management responses to control related threats to people, trade and economic security across the region. 

A “Healthy Asia-Pacific 2020” initiative detailing these measures was endorsed by Ministers in Beijing in conjunction with the just concluded meeting of APEC Senior Officials here to ensure growth and global recovery. It calls for approaches of "health in all policies," "whole of government," "whole of society," and "whole of region."

“Trends in globalization, including the expansion of international trade and travel, have increased the need for synergized development of health and the economy,” explained Dr Li Bin, Minister of China’s National Health and Family Planning and Commission, during the 4th APEC High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy. 

“APEC economies should be encouraged to develop sustainable and high-performing health systems,” added Li Mingzhu, Chair of the APEC Health Working Group and meeting co-Chair. “This includes strengthening systems to support universal coverage and health preparedness, surveillance, response and recovery systems for disasters that occur in the region. The public and private sectors should work hand-in-hand to achieve these ends.” 

In a statement, Ministers further articulated steps for deepening cooperation in the region to improve the development of the health sector. 

With constantly evolving health challenges across the Asia-Pacific, we need to take a collaborative approach in shaping the direction of investment priorities in the region for human development and economic development,” noted Dr Enrique Ona, Secretary of Health of the Philippines. “Indeed, shared problems demand shared solutions.” 

“Together, we can address the challenges and opportunities for a healthier future, sustainable growth and economic empowerment for all our economies,” Dr Ona concluded. 

Ministers reaffirmed the need for APEC economies to strengthen pandemic preparedness in the region to mitigate the impact of outbreaks. They also agreed to continue joint work to ensure safe medicines by encouraging the adoption of common data standards to enhance tracking of tainted or false drug products in the supply chain. 

To enable innovation in medical life sciences and facilitate the transfer of research discoveries into cost-effective therapies, the region’s economies are furthermore establishing an APEC Biomedical Technology Commercialization Training Center and the first APEC Center of Excellence for Regulatory Sciences. 

For More:

The APEC “Healthy Asia Pacific 2020” document can be viewed here

For the Statement by the 4th APEC High Level Meeting on Health and the Economy, click here

Further details on cooperation within APEC to combat health threats are available at this link

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