Regional Consultation on Macroeconomics and Health in South-East Asia
A Regional Consultation on Macroeconomics and Health, organized by the Regional Office for South-East Asia, was held in New Delhi on 18-19 August 2003. Representatives from the Ministries of Health, Finance and Planning and WHO Country Offices from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Timor-Leste were present. The Consultation’s aim was to review progress on macroeconomics and health in the countries of the region and to identify actions needed at regional and national levels, including WHO support, to move the process forward. In addition, participants discussed their planned contribution to the Global Consultation in October 2003.
Dr. Uton Muchtar Rafei, Regional Director of the WHO Office for South-East Asia, inaugurated the Consultation by highlighting the importance of national political commitment and a multisectoral effort to improve health, particularly for the poor. Participants agreed that the macroeconomics and health process will be country-driven and linked to existing structures, mechanisms and processes. Advocacy of the concepts must be sustained in order to develop a national consensus on the centrality of health in development and the importance of a multi-sectoral approach to investing in health. Technical expertise provided by WHO and its partners needs to support countries in building national capacity and strengthening institutions.