Tehran, Damascus discuss ways to broaden health ties

TEHRAN – In a meeting between the health ministers of Iran and Syria, the two sides emphasized the need to expand relations in the field of health.

Iranian Health Minister Bahram Einollahi and Syrian Health Minister Hassan Al-Ghabbash met on May 23 on the sidelines of the seventy-sixth World Health Assembly which is being held in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 21–30.

Increasing cooperation in the field of medicine and medical equipment is one of the priorities of the relations between the two friendly and brotherly countries, Einollahi said.

“We hope that the joint scientific and medical research conference with the participation of Iran and Syria will be held as soon aiming to improve health indicators in the region.”

He went on to say that the creation of a regional health working group with the active participation of Iran, Syria, and other friendly countries will have valuable achievements for the health of the countries in the region if it is accompanied by an operational plan and schedule.

“Currently, 76 Syrian students are studying in Iran’s universities of medical sciences, and considering the advantage of the integration of education and treatment in the health system of the Islamic Republic, we are ready to exchange professors and students with Syria.”

Al-Ghabbash, for his part, said that Syria welcomes the cooperation and expansion of health diplomacy with the friendly and brotherly country of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

He announced Syria’s readiness to speed up the implementation of the previous agreements with the Islamic Republic in the field of health.

Addressing the World Health Assembly, Einollahi said the only way to ensure the global health goals, including “saving people and ensuring health for all,” is to increase opportunities for meaningful international collaboration and partnership.

He went on to say that the right to enjoy health and enjoy the highest health standards should be available to everyone without distinction of race, religion, political opinions, or economic and social conditions.

Equitable, unimpeded, and timely access to health products and medical countermeasures is critical in public health emergencies.

Unilateral coercive measures, as acknowledged in the report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on his visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran, negatively affect the right to health of people under sanctions.

“Regional and subregional cooperation can play an important role in promoting health for all. Health-focused subregional initiatives, such as the G5 cooperation program in our region, can help improve the resilience of health systems.”

The Group of Five cooperation program was designed and initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran with the participation of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and the World Health Organization, and Tajikistan as observers. This subregional group is a unique example of South-South cooperation in the field of health, the minister stressed.

“We are happy to share our subregional joint health achievements with other regions and countries.”

The 26th G5 High-Level Experts Meeting on Health Cooperation and the 1st Healthcare Leadership and Governance Training Program was held in Tehran from May 6-10.

G5 countries (Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, plus the World Health Organization) took part in the meeting with the theme of “Joint Work for Solving Joint Health Problems.”

Iran initiated the establishment of the G5 in 2005 to promote subregional cooperation in health among the countries.

Syed Jaffar Hussain, the World Health Organization Representative and Head of Mission in Iran, has appreciated the country for its efforts to enhance health security in the region.

The WHO representative also thanked Iran for holding the 26th G5 High-Level Experts Meeting on Health Cooperation and the 1st Healthcare Leadership and Governance Training Program, IRNA reported.

In June 2021, al-Mandhari said the Islamic Republic of Iran is a role model for primary health care.

For the past four decades, its PHC network has aimed to ensure that people have timely access to affordable, accessible, and acceptable essential health services, he explained.

During the seventy-sixth World Health Assembly, a series of strategic roundtables are being held. During these sessions, WHA delegates, partner agencies, representatives of civil society, and WHO experts will discuss current and future priorities for public health issues of global importance.

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed program budget. The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.


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