KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will learn strategies employed by Australia to achieve tobacco control.
Speaking at the 69th session of the World Health Organisation Regional Committee for the Western Pacific in Brisbane, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam congratulated the country for significantly reducing smoking among its citizens.
“The prevalence of smoking in Australia is only 11 per cent against Malaysia’s 23 per cent. We are very excited to see how Australia has managed to achieve this remarkable figure.
“Close cooperation and exchange of views on the practices employed in the area of tobacco control will support other countries in the region to fight this major health issue,” he said while delivering a speech as the event’s outgoing chair.
Dr Subramaniam listed down a number of issues faced in the region, including addressing infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria; giving emphasis on vaccine-preventable diseases, which were showing resurgence recently like measles and rubella; and the burden of non-communicable diseases on the region.
Many countries, he said, faced challenges in enacting regulatory frameworks to ensure mobility of medications, technology and personnel.
“I think this meeting will provide us with the opportunity to move forward to ensure that globalisation of health benefits all nations in the region.
“One of the significant things is the strong camaraderie that exists between us. This platform can be used to share our knowledge and experience to strengthen overall healthcare delivery in the region.”