EB 132 Agenda 11.3 Proposed Programme...
Thank you Madam Chair,
We are grateful to have been given the floor. The Hon’ble Minister from Maldives, an Executive Board member from the SEAR region, as well the delegate from Timor Leste have made statements on the matter of the proposed cuts in the SEAR budget over the biennium 2014-2015. We support these statements. The draft proposed programme budget for WHO for 2014-2015, if approved by the Governing Bodies, could result in actual reduction of budget for South East Asia Region. However we must recognize that this potential reduction could have a major impact on the region’s health needs including the needs of India.
May I also add that it is not at all our intention that outlays to any other region be reduced; however, as ours is the only region that has seen a reduction, and one which Document EB 132/43 calls a significant reduction, we feel we must place our views on record.
The landscape of health in India is evolving and the Government of India is making rapid changes in strategies to improve the reach and quality of health care for its citizens under its flagship programme, the National Rural Health Mission. We are now looking at Universal Health Coverage as the objective over the next five years. There is a substantial burden of communicable as well as non-communicable diseases in our country as well as in the South East Asia Region. At this crucial juncture, the Government relies on WHO for even greater support for policy development as well as for designing, implementing and evaluating these strategies. Therefore, a reduction in WHO’s Programme Budget at this stage for South East Asia Region as a whole, as well as in Category 1 and 2 activities for the region, has the risk of decreasing the effectiveness of WHO’s support to the Governments, which may not be desirable considering the big impact that changes in India, along with changes in the entire region, can make on global health indicators.
Madam Chair, India today stands on the brink of getting a ‘polio free certification’ after 15 long years of dedicated and committed work in the area of polio eradication, as recognized by Madam DG in her address on the first day of this meeting. Any budget cut on SEAR will impact the SEAR countries including India and, therefore, should be carefully considered before taking a decision to this effect.
We are aware that this is still work in progress, and, therefore, look forward to more and closer interaction with the Secretariat on this issue.