Jakarta (ANTARA) - The ASEAN Health Ministers' Meeting on Friday discussed mitigation strategies for anticipating future pandemics, according to Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin.

"Today's meeting marks a milestone in realizing health security in the ASEAN region after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the end of the COVID-19 pandemic," he said here.

The "High-Level Meeting on Building a Sustainable and Resilient Future in the ASEAN Region: From Emergency Response to Long-Term COVID-19 Disease Management" was filled with dialogues and sharing of experiences by regional organizations, such as the African Union, G20 Health Working Group, WHO SEARO (South-East Asia Region), G7 Health Working Group, and the ASEAN Biodiaspora Virtual Center.

The organizations shared their views on preparing and preventing future pandemics.

During the meeting, the ASEAN health ministers also talked about preparedness for working together to face public health threats, including long COVID-19, Sadikin said.

Minister Sadikin, who chaired the meeting, emphasized the importance of long-term mitigation of COVID-19, such as through quick distribution of financial assistance within a few weeks when a pandemic strikes.

He also spoke about the global standard supervision and mechanism as well as ensuring the availability of genome sequencing laboratories, human resources, and reserve health workers who can be deployed promptly during a health crisis.

"We discussed the potential investment and support for the ASEAN region to thrive in a post-COVID-19 pandemic world," he said.

The forum also called for collaboration in the surveillance of emerging infectious diseases, so that they can be prevented from becoming future pandemics.

Sadikin said ASEAN needs to increase access to disease countermeasures and prepare safe and measurable services, including integrating COVID-19 clinical pathways related to other respiratory diseases as well as long-term disease mitigation.

"To ensure emergency coordination within the region, we encourage the protection from infectious diseases, infodemic, and other threats," he added.

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Translator: Andi F, Kenzu
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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