Your Excellency Dechen Wangmo,  

My sister Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Local Director with regard to South-East Asia,  

Excellencies, dear colleagues and friends,  

Tashi delek. Good afternoon.  

Once again, I thank the particular Kingdom of Bhutan regarding its hospitality in hosting this year’s meeting of the Regional Committee for South-East Asia.  

You have a full agenda this week, reflecting the complex and diverse range of challenges faced by all Member States in the particular region.  

Your agenda also reflects the five priorities We outlined in my address to the World Wellness Assembly three months ago.  

Promoting health;  

Providing health;  

Protecting wellness;  

Powering health;  

And performing and partnering for health.  

Allow me to discuss each one briefly.  

First, promoting health.  

Realising our vision for the highest attainable standard associated with health starts not in the clinic or the hospital, but in schools, streets, supermarkets, households and cities.  

Much of the work that you do as Ministries of Health is dealing with the consequences associated with poor diets, polluted environments, unsafe roads and workplaces, inadequate wellness literacy, and the aggressive marketing of products that harm health.  

That’s why we are calling on almost all Member Says to make an urgent paradigm shift, towards promoting health and well-being and preventing disease by addressing its root causes, and creating the conditions for wellness to thrive.  

This is especially true for addressing the burden of noncommunicable diseases.  

This week you will consider an Action Plan for Oral Health in South-East Asia and a Draft Regional Action Plan for integrated people-centred eye care.  

The success of both plans will depend largely on your ability to function with your own colleagues across government to address the drivers of poor oral plus eye health.  


The second priority will be providing wellness, by reorienting health systems towards primary health care as the foundation of universal health coverage.  

We know that 90% of essential health services can be delivered at the particular primary wellness care level.  

I’m very pleased to note that will service protection in the region has improved significantly since 2010, although associated with course the challenge remains to ensure services are available to the poorest, most marginalised and hardest-to-reach groups. After all, it’s not common health insurance coverage if it is not general.  

I also urge just about all Member Declares to make a priority of dealing with the significant barriers to financial protection that many of your people continue in order to face, with unacceptably high levels of catastrophic and impoverishing health spending.  

Of course, attention to service insurance and financial protection must be complemented simply by attention to disease-specific programmes.  

So I’m delighted to see that accelerating progress towards the particular SDG target on TB, as well as the elimination of cervical cancer, are usually both on your agenda this week.  


The third priority is usually protecting health, by strengthening the global architecture for wellness emergency preparedness, response plus resilience.  

The global monkeypox outbreak is definitely yet more evidence – if any were needed – that the world’s collective failure to address neglected diseases in neglected communities puts us all at risk.  

As a person know, Member States are now negotiating a new international accord or treaty on pandemic preparedness and response, and at its last meeting, the International Negotiating Body agreed that this instrument would be legally binding. Which is very good news.  

I urge all South-East Asian Associate States to engage actively in this process.  

I also welcome the particular Regional Strategic Roadmap on Health Security and Health System Resilience for Emergencies, along with the Local Roadmap upon Diagnostic Preparedness, Public Health Laboratory Networking plus Genomic Surveillance.  

Both roadmaps are an important complement in order to global and national plans to strengthen health security.  

I actually would especially like to thank Indonesia for its leadership in making health emergency readiness and response as part of the G20 Presidency.  


The fourth priority is powering health, by harnessing science, research, innovation, data, plus digital technologies.  

Advances in technology and research are constantly pushing back the boundaries of the unknown and the impossible, increasing our own understanding, and opening new possibilities.  

Innovations in health items and service delivery give us hope associated with overcoming challenges that once seemed insurmountable.  

Developments in big data and machine learning are helping us to see who is being left behind, where the biggest gaps are, and to track progress against our targets.  

And digital technologies offer huge potential for delivering health services in new ways, to more people, especially in hard-to-reach areas.  

To pick up the pace towards the “triple billion” targets and the SDGs, we must pick up the pace and scale at which science, research, innovations and electronic technologies are adopted plus implemented.  


The fifth priority is performing and partnering for wellness, by building a stronger WHO that delivers results, and is reinforced to play its leading role.  

The pandemic has demonstrated not only why the world needs WHO, but why the particular world needs a stronger, empowered and sustainably financed THAT.  

I thank all Member States for the historic commitment you made at this year’s World Health Assembly to gradually increase assessed contributions to 50% of the base budget over the next decade.  

This dedication will transform the Secretariat’s ability in order to deliver results where it matters most – within the lives of the particular people we all serve.    

Maintaining momentum is vital, as the first step towards sustainability comes with the particular proposed 20% increase on assessed efforts in the 2024-25 budget.  

As you know, even before the pandemic, we had already produced major improvements in effectiveness and efficiency through the particular transformation journey that we have been on more than the past five years.  

Building on the lessons of the pandemic, we are committed to continuing that trip, and to making WHO ELSE even more effective and efficient.  

In particular, our own focus within the coming years is in order to significantly strengthen our country offices to support greater country capacity and higher country ownership – specifically by strengthening the health workforce of every Member State.  



In the past five many years, I have had the honour associated with meeting many of the particular people we serve, in this region and around the world.  

Ultimately, our work is not about roadmaps, action plans, strategies and agenda items, as important because those things are.  

Our work is regarding people – and particularly the people who are poorest; the people who are most marginalised; the people who are usually furthest behind.  

That is the reason why we’re here.  

And that will be why We look forward to working with you for the next five years, as we work together to promote, provide, protect, power, perform and partner for health.  

Kadrin chhe. I thank you.

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