Vice President Faisal Naseem has affirmed the administration seeks to continue providing affordable, inclusive and quality health care services across the country. The vice president made the remarks in his inaugural address of the National Conference on Revitalising Public Health organised by the Ministry of Health. The three-day conference is held from November 4-6 at Paradise Island Resort.
Speaking at the function, Vice President Naseem stated small island communities have been neglected over the years despite efforts by previous administrations to improve health care services. He noted the Strategic Action Plan (SAP) of the administration outlines the specifics of how these issues will be addressed and ensure better, far-reaching and all-inclusive health care for all islands, despite the size of its population.
Highlighting recent achievements of the health sector, Vice President Naseem noted healthcare standards have improved significantly over recent years, including higher life expectancy, a steady decline in infant mortality rates and a decrease in maternal mortality.
The vice president noted with unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle changes, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) had become the root cause of morbidity and mortality in the country. In this regard, he urged health care professionals and the general public to promote and advocate healthy lifestyles; choosing healthy meals, make physical activity a daily habit, and choose to quit smoking which is a common risk factor in a number of NCDs and second-hand smoke can lead to illnesses and nuisances for others.
Speaking about strengthening safe motherhood and child health, Vice President Naseem stressed it was a duty of all citizens to care for them and provide them with the best possible health services; ensuring they are vaccinated, breastfed, and healthy lifestyles instilled from a young age.
The vice president noted the policies of the administration on providing a better future for children and urged all relevant stakeholders to further enhance the School Health Programme and School Breakfast Programme. He further noted the success of the policy of the administration of providing six-month maternity leave for all mothers.
Speaking about the public health conference, the vice president urged all stakeholders to best utilise the findings and policies reached during the discussions.
Deliberations at the conference focus on multi-sectorial and community partnership, reorienting health services, human resources for public health, policy and finance, and evidence-based communications for public health.