Children receiving dietary supplements from a mobile clinic in Garissa district, Kenya. Rebecca Nduku / © Commonwealth Secretariat
14 May 2012
‘Health system integration is key to tackling the dual challenges faced by all our member countries’ – Commonwealth Secretary-General
Commonwealth health ministers will meet on 20 May 2012 to discuss the dual burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases in the context of health service integration.
The annual Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting under the theme: ‘Linking Non-communicable and Communicable Diseases’ takes place ahead of the World Health Assembly meetings in Geneva, Switzerland.
Participants will focus on finding ways of applying the experience gained from tackling communicable diseases – particularly HIV and AIDS – in response to the growing challenge of non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancers and diabetes.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma welcomed the opportunity ministers will have to learn from experts in the field of public health research and management. These include Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director of the International Institute for Society and Health, UK; Dr Frank Mwangemi, Director Programmes, African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships; Dr Mwele Ntuli Malecela, Director-General of the National Institute for Medical Research, Tanzania; Dr Talib Lashari, Health Adviser, Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan; Dr Fuad Khan, Minister of Health, Trinidad and Tobago; and Professor Jane Halton, PSM, Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing, Australia.
“It is critical that health systems are developed to deal with the increase in non-communicable diseases, which currently kill 35 million people worldwide each year. In doing so, there are lessons to be learned from how public health systems have dealt with communicable diseases, such as HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria,” Mr Sharma said.
He added that there are both policy and technical issues to consider and Commonwealth countries have much to learn from each other’s good practice and experience.
For media enquiries, please contact: Victoria Holdsworth on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 789 549 3520