healthcare

Sultanate leads Global Health for Peace Initiative

October 18, 2021

Muscat – Oman is leading a global ‘Health as a Bridge for Peace’ initiative, under the aegis of World Health Organization, which recognises the importance of health facilities in promoting and fostering peace in areas of conflict across the world.

A high-level panel discussion on the Health For Peace – From Theory To Action was held on the inaugural day of the 68th session of the Regional Committee for the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region on October 11 virtually, facilitated from WHO’s regional office in Cairo, Egypt.

From Oman, H E Sayyid Badr Hamad al Busaidi, Foreign Minister, and H E Dr Ahmed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, participated in the panel discussion.

H E Sayyid Badr shed light on the basic relationship between health and peace, and stressed the importance of international cooperation to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and provide vaccines to all in a fair manner.

WHO has long recognised its vital and central role in fostering and promoting peace through health. In a joint effort by Oman, Switzerland and the Regional Director for the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, the Health for Peace Initiative (HPI) was launched in 2019. This landmark event took place in Geneva and was attended by more than 50 representatives of 24 WHO member states and partners.

Member states of other regions expressed their willingness to join the initiative and consequently it was renamed the Global Health for Peace Initiative (GHPI). A follow-up meeting hosted by Oman in May 2021 emphasised the need to formalise a structural framework for the initiative, which is going to be presented at the 150th session of the WHO Executive Board in January 2022.

The discussion on October 11 allowed panellists to exchange ideas on peace building through health, touching on a range of topics including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, natural and man-made crises and displacement, among others.

H E Dr Sa’eedi said that there is an increase in conflict and violence around the world, and “in our region in particular it affects the livelihoods of millions of people, displacing them and depriving them of their most basic rights of health and wellbeing”.

He added that in addition to serious health costs, the worst burden comes from the indirect costs caused by disruption of economic and social systems, violence and disempowerment of individuals.

The health minister outlined that GHPI will promote advocacy at national, regional and global levels among member states, partners and other stakeholders to turn to health as a bridge for peace in conflict affected countries and as a tool to strengthen international collaboration during health emergencies.

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