Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Deputy Minister of Health Dante Saksono Harbuwono expressed optimism that youths from member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) would create a healthier Southeast Asia.

"Youths have an important role in realizing a healthier future for everyone in the ASEAN region," he remarked at the 2023 ASEAN+ Youth Summit that was followed virtually in Jakarta on Friday.

The summit, which brings together youths representing ASEAN countries and the bloc's partner countries, serves as part of the 43rd ASEAN Summit that took place in Jakarta, under Indonesia's 2023 ASEAN chairmanship.

Harbuwono noted that by creating innovation and taking initiatives in the health sector, ASEAN youths will be able to embrace all parties to improve the quality of health services.

The deputy minister expressed belief that Southeast Asian youths have the potential and capability of providing everyone in the region with equal access to quality health services.

He cited as an example Dr Gamal Albinsaid, a young inspirational figure from Malang, Indonesia, who provides quality health services to the underprivileged people. The people can simply use waste as a means of payment.

Deputy Minister Harbuwono also cited the example of Adrianus Tonbesi, a health worker from East Nusa Tenggara Province, who pioneered and implemented programs that help the province reduce the number of amputation cases on account of diabetes.

"I believe that those two youths are not the only youths in ASEAN that contribute to the health sector. Let us imagine the impacts that could result from the collaboration of ASEAN youths to improve health services," he stated.

He underscored the importance of collaboration among ASEAN youths in the health sector, considering that most countries in the region are facing common problems in the sector, such as childhood stunting.

Harbuwono noted that all parties should pay close attention to stunting cases since a high number of such cases would not only affect people during their childhood but also during their adult lives, thereby resulting in disruptions to a generation.

"This is the spirit that we have to apply in order to promote equitable health services in the hopes of creating sustainable health services," he emphasized.

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Translator: Sean F, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Sri Haryati
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