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South Asia’s Medical Vow

As disaster after disaster, and epidemic after epidemic ravages the largest continent or our world, South and East Asian governments agreed to increase funding for health emergencies. The World Health Organization, or WHO, held a meeting with eleven countries in the region to discuss the importance and the implementation of better health management systems. Of the countries of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, South Korea, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste, the tiny island of Sri Lanka hosted the WHO meeting. The area is well known for hard hitting natural disasters, and the quick spreading epidemics fueled by generations of poverty and dangerously dirty drinking water.

At the health meeting it was revealed that the region had less than half of the recommended amount of health workers per 10 thousand people. The WHO recommends 44.5 health workers per 10,000 people, while many countries attending this year’s meeting only have 12.5 health workers per 10,000 citizens. The United Nations, who have joined the conference, proposed the higher funding to fight the spread of diseases. “Countries in the region have made commendable progress in tackling neglected tropical diseases in recent years… But efforts must be scaled-up against NTDs (Neglected Tropical Diseases) if we are to meet our targets,” stated the South Asian WHO Regional Director Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh. By 2020, the organization is aiming to eliminate  lymphatic filariasis, yaws, leprosy schistosomiasis, and visceral leishmaniasis from the region. The countries are currently severely unprepared to combat these illnesses.

These nations who have met this month have already gathered funds to contain cholera and diarrhea in the aftermath of any natural disasters, as the population would be thrown into chaos and poverty. Hopefully, the continued commitment to the meeting would drastically improve health standards in the less fortunate places of Earth.

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