Islamic Conference of Health Ministers kicks off with preparatory meeting of senior officials

  • UAE named chair of Executive Office, three countries including Brunei, Gambia and Palestine elected vice-chair. KSA to be rapporteur Member

The 7th Islamic Conference of Health Ministers (ICHM) Health Ministers commenced today (Sunday) in Abu Dhabi with a preparatory meeting of senior officials, involving the participation of delegations from member states and regional and international observer institutions of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Hosted by the UAE and organized by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) in cooperation with OIC, the conference will last till December 17 under the theme “Quality of Life”.

The preparatory meeting was kicked off with a speech by Dr Mohammad Yahya Saeedi, Saudi Arabia’s representative, during which he lauded strenuous efforts being made by ministries of health of member states to keep up with latest changes and developments in the health sector especially with regard to fighting chronic diseases, epidemics and misuse of antibiotics.

Saeedi called on the ministries of health to redouble their efforts to implement the OIC Strategic Health Programme of Action 2014-2023 (OIC-SHPA), which was tailored to ensure a universal health coverage.

 He noted that Saudi Arabia has already begun with health transformation to improve services and prevent diseases by providing distinguished healthcare services, in accordance with its vision 2030.

UAE takes chairs from KSA

During the session and after consultation, new members for the executive office have been elected. The UAE took the chair of the office from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Three vice-chairmen were also chosen from Brunei, Gambia and Palestine, while Saudi Arabia will serve as a rapporteur Member.

Welcoming the delegates, HE Dr. Hussein Abdel-Rahman Al-Rand, Assistant Undersecretary of Health Centers and Clinics Sector, who was representing the UAE in ICHM, said the health and wellbeing of people is the key pillar of nation’s development and called for sharing expertise among member states.

Quality of life: UAE’s top priority

He stressed the importance of concerted efforts to benefit from all available tools, capabilities, knowledge, technology and artificial intelligence, and everything that would contribute to raising the standard of life and living. “Through this conference, we seek to achieve a universal health coverage and provide health services to everyone who need that,” Al-Rand said.

He noted that the UAE attaches great importance to achieving the happiness and wellbeing of its people and places the quality of life among its top priorities. To this end, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the National Strategy for Wellbeing 203.

Al Rand concluding his speech by wishing the participants every success in their meeting and to come out with recommendations that help improve the quality of people’s lives.

Strategic Health Programme of Action 2014-2023 

For his part, Ambassador Askar Musinov, Assistant Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OIC, the healthcare sector is one of the most important areas that the OIC is working on through its Strategic Health Programme of Action 2014-2023 (OIC-SHPA).

He hailed the work being done by Islamic Advisory Group for polio eradication, which includes Al-Azhar Al Sharif of Egypt, the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Musinov noted that the group has expanded its scope of work to cover maternal and newborn health, adding that the OIC General Secretariat will spare no effort to support cooperation and coordination efforts in this field.

Progress report

During the meeting, the delegates reviewed the recommendations of the 6th ICHM and the progress report on the OIC Center of Excellence on Vaccines and Biotechnology Products (Indonesia) as well as the progress report on the OIC Medical Corps and OIC Health Portal.

Also discussed were the progress report on the Islamic Advisory Group for Polio Eradication (IAG) and the latest developments with regard to the First Meeting of the Heads of National Medicines Regulatory Authorities (NMRAs) from OIC member states.

The preparatory meeting also touched on the possibility of appointing new members for the OIC Steering Committee of Health and Lead Country Coordinators Group 2019-202 as well as other projects and documents related to the 7th ICHM.

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