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July 31, 2011

Aman Ki Asha Indo-Pak health committees debut meet


July 31, 2011


NEW DELHI: A meeting of the Aman Ki Asha (AKA) health committees of India and Pakistan was held here Friday. The meeting was held under the aegis of Aman Ki Asha, the joint peace initiative launched by the Times of India and the Jang Group with the support of the Confederation of Indian Industry, says a press release on Saturday.
The Pakistani delegation was led by Dr Sania Nishtar, President Heartfile, and included a number of prominent medical professionals and senior corporate heads belonging to the pharma industry. The Indian delegation was led by Dr Naresh Trehan and included many other stalwarts.
After day-long deliberations, which included several presentations on issues of mutual importance, the joint meeting issued a declaration stressing the potential and benefits of collaboration and laying out the parameters as well as the mechanism for the way forward. The following is the text of the declaration:
We, participants of the Aman ki Asha Indo-Pak health committees debut meeting, assembled in Delhi on July 29, 2011 organized in collaboration with CII.
Welcome the Aman ki Asha, campaign for peace between India and Pakistan, jointly initiated by the Jang Group of Pakistan and The Times of India Group.
Emphasize the need to create an enabling environment for peace and reconciliation by facilitating dialogue and encouraging people-to-people interaction at all levels. Agree that such initiatives can serve as the stepping stone for building trust and goodwill on both sides.
Emphasize the need to collaborate towards a future in which populations of both the countries have an opportunity to attain the highest possible level of health and well-being.
Recognize the need for addressing inequities in health and the excess mortality, morbidity, disability and care giver’s burden, especially in poor and marginalized populations in both countries.
Acknowledge that the risks to health that arise from environmental, economic, social and

behavioural causes need to be addressed effectively across borders. Appreciate the significance of achieving health systems goals and the importance of prevention, control and treatment of diseases and health promotion.
Urge governments, the private sector and civil society to work collaboratively towards the shared goal of saving lives, serving humanity and improving the health of all people.
Call upon governments to facilitate trade in health to promote achievement of equitable health systems goals, inclusive of access to quality affordable medicines, quality service delivery and human resource availability. Call upon development partners to exploit regional synergies.
Commit to: providing a point of contact, a convening space, a forum for stakeholders within the health sector.
Using this forum as an advocacy platform to influence decision makers to improve health status of populations on either side; focus on information sharing and synchronizing activities to address disease security concerns, such as polio, emerging and re-emerging infections, and HIV and AIDS; advocate for improvements in reproductive health, family planning, maternal, new born and child health and nutrition outcomes.
Developing information pathways to learn from each other and capitalizing on sharing of experiences in various areas lessons in breaking social resistance for polio eradication; community and policy support for new vaccines; experiences in human resource skills training; tackling anti-microbial resistance; experiences in broadening the base of health financing through interventions such as conditional cash transfers, micro-insurance, health equity fund models; lessons in private sector quality regulation, accreditation and patient safety; public-private partnerships/interactions for low cost models to ensure equitable access; community health interventions; policy interventions to promote injection safety; and overcoming the trust deficit between the public and private sectors.
Developing initiatives aimed at learning together. The following were identified by participants as some specific areas: access to affordable medicines, tackling childhood obesity as an entry point to addressing the non-communicable (NCD) epidemic, broadening the remit of NCDs to include non-communicable health issues of relevance to both countries such as thalassemia, and communicable disease issues of unique bilateral interest, such as hepatitis.
Supporting collaborative research, in areas of childhood obesity, traditional medicines use, NCDs, reproductive health, tobacco, youth fertility; and research in public health management to integrate NCDs at the primary healthcare level.
Providing media support to facilitate implementation of the objectives articulated herein.
Participants agreed on a comprehensive list of action steps, defined measurable deliverables, specified timelines and selected champions.
The meeting concluded on a high note of enthusiasm and hope. Health was unanimously envisioned as a catalyst for peace and an entry point to building bridges.




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