Vice President Faisal Naseem has affirmed that the administration seeks to continue providing affordable, inclusive and quality health care services across the country. He made the remarks in his inaugural address of the National Conference on Revitalising Public Health organised by the Ministry of Health. The three-day conference is held from 4-6 November at Paradise Island Resort.

Speaking at the function, Vice President Faisal Naseem stated that, despite efforts by previous administrations to improve health care services, small island communities had been neglected over the years. He noted that the administration’s Strategic Action Plan (SAP), outlines the specifics of how these issues will be addressed and ensure better, far-reaching and all-inclusive health care for all islands, despite the size of its population.

Highlighting recent achievements of the health sector, the Vice President noted that healthcare standards have improved significantly over recent years, including higher life expectancy, a steady decline in infant mortality rates and a decrease in maternal mortality. He noted that with unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle changes, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) had become the root cause of morbidity and mortality in the country. In this regard, the Vice President urged health care professionals and the general public to promote and advocate healthy lifestyles; choosing healthy meals, make physical activity a daily habit, and choose to quit smoking—which is a common risk factor in a number of NCDs and second-hand smoke can lead to illnesses and nuisances for others.

Speaking about strengthening safe motherhood and child health, the Vice President stressed that it was a duty of all citizens to care for them and provide them with the best possible health services; ensuring they are vaccinated, breastfed, and healthy lifestyles instilled from a young age. He further noted the administration’s policies on providing a better future for children and urged all relevant stakeholders to enhance the School Health Programme and School Breakfast Programme further. He further noted the success of the administration’s policy of providing six-month maternity leave for all mothers.

Speaking about the public health conference, the Vice President urged all stakeholders to best utilise the findings and policies reached during the discussions. 

Deliberations at the conference focus on multi-sectoral and community partnership, reorienting health services, human resources for public health, policy and finance, and evidence-based communications for public health.