South East Asia has strengthened NCD services in line with Colombo Declaration: WHO Regional Director

All South East Asian countries have taken concerted action to strengthen the delivery of noncommunicable disease (NCD) services at the primary level in line with the 2016 Colombo Declaration, WHO South East Asia Director Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh said today.

The Colombo Declaration was endorsed at the 69th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia on September 9, 2016 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

In her message on the international Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day which falls today, Dr. Singh said the world marks its third international UHC Day and the first during a pandemic.

“The region has in recent years made steady advances towards HUC. Trend data from this year’s annual progress report show how countries have continued to improve service coverage, which now, on average, above 61%, as compared with 47% a decade ago.

“Nine countries have surpassed the first WHO health workforce density threshold of 22.8 doctors, nurses and midwives per 10,000 population compared with six in 2014,” she said.

Although public spending on health has on average increased by more than 23 % between 2009 and 2018, Dr. Singh said most countries must invest substantially more to reduce out of pocket and catastrophic health expenditure. “It can and must be done,” she said.