Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin handed over the position of chair of the ASEAN Health Ministers to Laos for the 2022-2024 period on Sunday evening.
“Today is the last day that Indonesia acts as the chair of the ASEAN Health Ministers,” he noted in a press conference in Nusa Dua, here.
Indonesia assumed the leadership position for the 2020-2022 period under difficult circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he remarked.
As a result, the agenda to hold a physical meeting between representatives of member countries can only be realized on May 11-15, 2022, in Nusa Dua.
“We do not have the opportunity to conduct a physical meeting. This is the first physical meeting throughout Indonesia’s leadership because our previous meetings had been virtual ones,” he pointed out.
Despite this, Indonesia managed to realize two important achievements: ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED) as well as health protocol harmonization across ASEAN countries.
“I believe that despite all the flaws during the COVID-19 pandemic, we still managed to complete these,” Sadikin emphasize.
ACPHEED is formed within the framework of developing regional preparedness and response system in better handling the people’s emergency health situation in future.
The three pillars of ACPHEED will be surveillance or detection, response, and risk management. These pillars will be supported by three ASEAN representative countries: Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.
In general, ACPHEED’s work principle is similar to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“In addition to handling disease emergency, it also has extraordinary events’ risk management,” the minister explained.
Meanwhile, the harmonization of health protocols was implemented through the COVID-19 vaccination certificate acknowledged by all ASEAN member countries.
Indirectly, this vaccination certificate can assist in driving economic activities to ensure the revival of business, including tourism, after the COVID-19 pandemic. It can also facilitate travel for ASEAN citizens.
Sadikin expects that Laos’ leadership in future can be better than Indonesia due to more stable conditions that can lead to more physical meetings to be held.
“This is the best achievement that we can record. We surmount the pandemic and handle vaccination first after this,” he remarked.
Source: Antara News