Rouhani urges heads of states to prioritize comprehensive health

News ID: 4119394 -
TEHRAN, Oct. 20 (MNA) – President Rouhani, in a message to WHO World Conference on Non-communicable Diseases in Uruguay, voiced Iran’s full preparation to share experience with all countries, and reciprocally use world knowledge and experience to promote people’s health.

Dr. Hassan Rouhani also emphasized that he was deeply confident that giving priority to health by the heads of state is necessary to create effective policies in moving towards a vibrant society. In this regard, efforts to create a social umbrella and public coverage of health and protect citizens against health costs are a necessity that has been emphasized in the goals of sustainable development and has been established in Iran as part of the Healthcare Reform Plan.

The full text of the message of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the World Conference on Non-communicable Diseases, which was read out in the presence of senior officials from more than 80 countries by Dr. Bagher Larijani, Vice-President of the National Committee on Non-Communicable Diseases, is as follows:

In the name of God

Your Excellency Mr. Vázquez,

President of Uruguay,

Honorable Heads of States,

Honorable World Health Ministers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Iranian people, I would like to extend my gratitude to the important summit of the ‘Non-communicable Diseases and Sustainable Development: Policy Coherence’ hosted by Uruguay, in partnership with the World Health Organization.

Today, the major component of the factors affecting the health of citizens outside the traditional boundaries of public and private institutions that have a direct impact on health, including the Ministry of Health, will be decided upon and operationalized. Although significant advancements in information technology, on the one hand, and the fundamental change in the lifestyle of people around the world, progressive migration, widespread urbanization process and its related components, on the other, have brought comfort and, in some cases, an increase in life expectancy, they have had a significant negative impact on human health. Also, the threat to global peace and the increasing number of refugees, as well as human-induced human catastrophes, including in Myanmar, Syria and Yemen, have also threatened the health of citizens and the host countries with great challenges.

Healthy air, adequate and safe food, adequate housing, decent job opportunities and healthy living environments are all essential components of human health, in which the role of governments in adopting balanced and mutually supportive policies for the realization of comprehensive health and prosperity of citizens in all these dimensions is fundamental. In the meantime, the fight against non-communicable diseases and their associated risk factors, as the most serious preventable factor for early mortality of human societies, requires the governments to pay serious attention to decision-making and policy-making so that sustainable development can be realized.

I believe that health, on the one hand, is a social matter and, on the other, is individual responsibility. If governments do not seriously address the social determinants of health and empowerment of citizens in promoting their accountability and responsiveness, they will face the heavy burden of severe diseases, in particular non-communicable ones, and increased costs, which will also be a burden on the shoulder of governments in implementation of their development programs and will result in a defective cycle of reduced human development and lower productivity.

Excellencies;

At the beginning of my second four-year term in office, I have chosen health as one of my top three priorities more serious than the first term, and in order to achieve health in all policies, special efforts are being made to adopt coherent policies aimed at reducing risk factors of chronic diseases and society's drive towards vitality, increasing social capital, reducing and preventing avoidable causes of mortality and improving social well-being.

Unfortunately, the mortality and burden of these diseases in the middle and low income countries are significantly higher than in high income communities. It seems that the solution to this gap is to establish a general institutional set-up, reducing the government's engagement in providing services, and focusing government on upstream and evidence-based policymaking, and paying close attention to building infrastructure and providing high-quality services. We believe that all elements of society and governmental institutions and sectors must be mobilized to deal with this problem.

Our country has an effective governance mechanism called the Supreme Council for Health and Food Security, which, with the presidency of the President and the membership of nine ministers and heads of related organizations, implements the necessary inter-institutional cooperation and attention to health in all policies. The adoption of a national document on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases over the past year and a half, along with inter-sectoral decisions related to the reduction of fat, sugar and salt use and increased tax on harmful substances, is one of the Council's measures in this regard.

Respected audience;

I am deeply convinced that giving priority to the health of all countries by the heads of state is necessary for creating effective policies in moving towards a vibrant society. In this regard, efforts to create a social umbrella and public coverage of health and protect citizens against health costs are a necessity that has been emphasized in the goals of sustainable development and has been established in Iran as part of the Healthcare Reform Plan.

I am pleased to announce that the Islamic Republic of Iran has adopted coherent policies for controlling and preventing non-communicable diseases, sponsored by the World Health Organization as one of the leading countries in this field. We are fully prepared to share our experiences with all countries, and reciprocally use world’s knowledge and experience to promote people's health.

I hope that your gathering in the beautiful country of Uruguay and discussing and exchanging the experiences of the leaders, ministers and top experts from the world at this major conference will improve overall health and increase the countries’ political commitment to more seriously address non-communicable diseases and their associated deaths. I pray to the Almighty for your success.

Hassan Rouhani

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

HA/4118535

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