Praise for Brunei’s healthcare
By: Ishan Ibrahim
On: 17 April 2017
In: Borneo Bulletin > Headline > National
DR TEDROS Adhanom Ghebreyesus, one of three nominees for the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General 2017 post, has paid a glowing tribute to Brunei Darussalam’s healthcare system, and said the priorities of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and his vision for world health generally lie on the same path.
The country’s focus on non-communicable diseases spearheaded by the MoH was briefed by Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Zulkarnain bin Haji Hanafi, the Minister of Health in a meeting recently.
He said he was very impressed with the presentation on non-communicable diseases given by Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Zulkarnain, and his team of professionals which highlighted the government’s strong drive to eradicate non-communicable diseases in the country.
“My vision statement (for the WHO Director-General candidacy) is quite similar with the objectives set out by the MoH, and this included universal health coverage which Brunei has already achieved, health emergencies that have the ability to strengthen the capacity of national authorities to detect, prevent and manage health emergency situations, establishing the welfare of women, children and adolescents as one of the top priorities especially on gender equality, addressing the issues of climate and environmental change, and lastly transforming WHO into a more accountable agency,” Dr Tedros explained.
He said he was generally very impressed with the health centres in Brunei during his visits, praising the efficiency in which they went about their daily routines; for example, patients could see the doctors easily without having to spend too much time waiting as unnecessary procedural bottlenecks have been eliminated.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, one of the three nominees for the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General 2017 post
Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Zulkarnain bin Haji Hanafi, the Minister of Health, with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, one of three nominees for the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General 2017 post, during the Bandarku Ceria event. – PHOTOS: ISHAN IBRAHIM
The passport control system at the Brunei International Airport also received much praise from Dr Tedros; with the WHO Director-General 2017 nominee commenting that the staff at the passport control were quick and efficient.
This points to His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s efficient system of government, he said.
The Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences (PAPRSB IHS) of Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) also stirred Dr Tedros’ fascination, with him noting that it was a good experience to witness the training and education system at the institute.
“The quality of the overall system at the institute is excellent with a competent staff, and this bodes well for the healthcare of the country,” he said.
Dr Tedros also commended Brunei for its efforts in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – which is essentially a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that everyone gets to enjoy peace and prosperity.
“This is evident in the fine system of national housing development implemented by the Government of His Majesty and the efficient system of education that exists in this country,” he said.
Dr Tedros also complimented the ‘Bandarku Ceria’ initiative, saying, “This national movement will certainly help in the fight against non-communicable diseases, with people from all walks of life cycling, jogging, walking, doing aerobics and enjoying themselves.”
He told the Bulletin that he particularly enjoyed his time spent cycling with Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Zulkarnain during the ‘Bandarku Ceria’ yesterday.
“Living a healthy lifestyle is a matter of choice, and if one wants to be healthy, he or she needs to exercise on a regular basis and cut down on sugars and unhealthy foods which contribute to heart diseases and other ailments,” Dr Tedros added.
The Bulletin also asked Dr Tedros for his views on the recent chemical attack in Idlib province, Syria that killed nearly 90 men, women and children.
Dr Tedros said that such acts by certain parties must be condemned in the strongest terms, and similar attacks must not happen in the future.
Queried on the relative quietness from WHO with regard to the chemical attack, and whether he will get WHO to be more vocal in condemning such unprovoked and cruel attacks on women and children if selected as the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros replied, “The transformation of WHO is part of my Vision Statement towards my candidacy for the WHO Director-General post.
“Part of my job will be to transform WHO into a more effective, transparent and accountable agency; this will be a bold reform and stabilisation of the organisation, create a more effective WHO.”
The Bulletin also asked Dr Tedros about the Ebola epidemic which affected West Africa in 2014-2016, and whether there is a possibility of outbreaks of even deadlier diseases in the future.
“Certainly more dangerous diseases can arise and an outbreak can occur sometime in the future, particularly with the present rate of globalisation, but what matters is whether countries and the relevant organisations are prepared to handle and manage such health emergencies,” Dr Tedros stated.
Dr Tedros, from Ethiopia, is the sole African candidate nominated for the WHO Director-General 2017 post.
He has received strong backing and endorsement from the African Union and various health ministers from the continent.
A new WHO Director-General will be voted in at the 70th World Health Assembly in May 2017 by Member States.