ASEAN+3: Widodo underlines three focuses to toughen health resilience

ASEAN+3: Widodo underlines three focuses to toughen health resilience

President Joko Widodo joins the 24th ASEAN Plus Three summit virtually from Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, on Wednesday (October 27, 2021). (ANTARA/HO-Biro Pers Sekretariat Presiden/Kris/KT)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has highlighted three focuses that can be used by ASEAN Plus Three (APT) countries to strengthen health resilience.

These three focuses are long-term investments so that the region is better prepared for future pandemics, he said while delivering a speech at the 24th ASEAN Plus Three summit, which he joined virtually from Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, on Wednesday.

The first focus is increasing the capacity of national health services, as they are absolutely the frontline in facing any pandemic, he pointed out.

The President also affirmed that national health can be the foundation for regional health resilience.

"The national health insurance system must also continue to be strengthened, especially for marginalized groups. The national pandemic mitigation strategies need to be improved, such as collaborating with the WHO Country and Regional Offices," he expounded.

Secondly, medical needs must be met by building reserves of medical supplies in the region, he said.

Related news: Pandemic building momentum for boosting health resilience: President

The ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies can be developed into an inventory buffer, he suggested.

The production capacity must be bolstered through investment support, technology transfer, and access to raw materials, he added.

"In a pandemic, regional health funding is necessary. The ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund can be advanced into an ASEAN Emergency Health Fund," Widodo said.

The next focus is strong coordination to align policies for tackling pandemics, he added. According to Widodo, coordinated handling will have a greater impact on pandemic control.

"We also need to develop mechanisms for quick and equitable distribution of medical needs in the region in times of emergency. For this reason, the ASEAN Emergency Operation Centre Network for Public Health must be utilized to the fullest," he affirmed.

ASEAN Plus Three (APT) is a cooperation between ASEAN countries and three East Asian countries (China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea) that has been in place since 1997.

Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung and Deputy Foreign Minister Mahendra Siregar also attended the summit.

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