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1.    His Excellency Dato Paduka Awang Haji Mohd Mahdi bin POKDSDDLU Haji Awang Abdul Rahman, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Brunei Darussalam in Geneva, Switzerland, on behalf of the Minister of Health, Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Dr Haji Zulkarnain bin Haji Hanafi, led the delegation of Brunei Darussalam to the 70th World Health Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland, commencing 22nd May 2017. The 70th World Health Assembly was attended by health ministers and representatives from 194 member nations of the World Health Organisation (WHO). This year, the theme for the World Health Assembly is "Building Better Systems for Health in the Age of Sustainable Development".


2.    His Excellency delivered a plenary address, on behalf of the Minister of Health, which expressed Brunei Darussalam's firm support for the framework of sustainable development and its aspirations which drive forward a comprehensive and holistic approach to improving population health and well-being. This approach takes into account the interplay of, and engagement between the health system, other relevant sectors, and the wider community.


3.    The Ministry of Health has identified three strategic priorities for the coming years – prevent and control non-communicable diseases (NCDs), delivering excellent services, and inculcating the 'Health is Everyone's Business' agenda, with the intention in empowering individuals and communities to take responsibility for their own health. It was also highlighted that the Ministry of Health remains committed to advancing health and the well-being of the people of Brunei Darussalam with the support of all relevant stakeholders.


4.    Among the issues discussed at the 70th World Health Assembly were preparedness, surveillance and response to health emergencies, antimicrobial resistance, donation and management of blood, global shortage and access to medicines and vaccines, communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, and promoting health through the life course including adolescents' health.


5.    On behalf of the Minister of Health, His Excellency also took the opportunity to express appreciation to the outgoing Director General, Dr Margaret Chan for her leadership and contribution to the WHO and congratulates the newly elected Director General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from Ethiopia.


6.    Prior to the World Health Assembly, His Excellency led the Brunei Darussalam's delegation to the 29th Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting on 21st May 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. This meeting was also attended by Health Ministers, Senior Officers and representatives from various international agencies from the 53 member states of the Commonwealth. The theme for this year's Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting was "Sustainable Financing of Universal Health Coverage as an Essential Component for Global Security Including the Reduction of All Forms of Violence".