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A six-member delegation led by Health Minister Dechen Wangmo is attending the 72nd World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia (SEA) Regional Committee (RC) meeting in New Delhi that began on September 2.

WHO representative to Bhutan, Dr Rui Paulo De Jesus, is also accompanying the delegation.

The RC for South-East Asia is the WHO’s governing body in the region that meets annually with representation from 11 member countries.

The RC has elected India’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan as the chairperson and Health Minister Dechen Wangmo as the co-chair.

Bhutan will emphasise on an innovative approach to deliver the government’s goal to provide people-centred quality health services in addition to highlighting the commitment of the government to eliminate cervical cancer in Bhutan.

The RC has considered tabling Bhutan’s agenda on the elimination of cervical cancer in which member states will discuss accelerating the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem.

The agenda was submitted for RC deliberation and to reaffirm commitment as Bhutan will become the first country to put up at the global level to eliminate cervical cancer.

Bhutan is also among the few countries in the developing world to adopt a comprehensive approach to cervical cancer prevention and introduced cytology-based screening of women in 2006. This was followed by the introduction of HPV for adolescent girls in 2010.

The current coverage since the introduction of cytology-based screening is approximately around 56 percent.

WHO SEA RC will have to present the status of progress towards elimination of cancer in the region and provide support to the member states in their efforts to achieve cervical cancer elimination.

Yesterday, following the round table meeting, the Delhi Declaration on Emergency Preparedness in the SEA Region was adopted by the member countries.

The committee will discuss relevant public health issues, including progress reports on selected RC resolutions and set policies, approve programme budget, adopt resolutions and decisions on selected health issues.

Lyonpo will also call on Dr Harsh Vardhan to discuss collaboration in the health sector.

Staff Reporter

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