M8 Statement Issued as World Health Summit Regional Meeting 2013 concludes

From 8th to 10th April, these key opinion leaders gathered in the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore contributed to in-depth cross-sectorial discussions based on the summit theme – “Health for Sustainable Development in Asia”. The WHSRMA is one of the foremost international gatherings of its kind in healthcare, initiated by the M8 Alliance as a sustainable high level forum to continue the global dialogue on crucial healthcare issues now and into the future.

Concluding the discussions during the WHSRMA, the M8 Alliance issued the following call to action – anchored on the four major themes of the summit and the recognition that a healthy population is the foundation for development, security, progress, social justice and economic stability.

The statement was read by Prof John Wong, president of the World Health Summit and co-chair of the WHSRMA in the presence of the M8 Alliance and about 900 delegates at the summit.

1. The Impact of Health on Asian Economies
· Disease affects individual lives as well as the well-being of society. It places a significant burden on economies and the sustainable development of nations. We therefore recommend and reinforce that health and healthcare considerations form an integral part of government policy.
· To ensure sustainable development, strategies to promote and protect health must be prioritized. We call on governmental agencies as well as private and non-profit sectors to play an active role in a whole-of-society approach to develop and implement strategies which promote health, prevent onset of diseases, and increase the resilience of populations.
· The current trend of healthcare worker migration from less developed to more developed nations is a global phenomenon. We urge governments and international organisations to develop policies to ensure a sustainable health workforce within countries with fragile health systems.

2. Innovations in Health in Asia – a holistic, integrated and out-of-the box approach
· Unprecedented advances have been made in life sciences technologies in the past three decades. We encourage the development and careful evaluation of these new technologies in patient and population settings. Rigorous cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analyses must be performed in the relevant context before implementation.
· At the same time, rising healthcare costs are not sustainable. Innovations in health interventions should be affordable, accessible and beneficial to all, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. Frugal innovations, social entrepreneurship, and innovative philanthropy should be promoted and encouraged as ways to make interventions available to all.
· Issues surrounding regulatory capacity and lack of harmonization in drugs and device regulation are inhibiting rapid development of needed medicines and devices. We urge governments to strengthen national regulatory capacity and work towards better harmonization of regulatory processes.
· Innovations should be based on sound, contextualised evidence. With the support of governments, industry and innovative philanthropy, research networks should be promoted especially for emerging health threats in Asia.

3. Financing Healthcare
· Healthcare should be accessible to everyone. We advocate the principles of universal health coverage, which should be regularly reviewed as to whether it is achieving its goals, and whether it is financially sustainable.
· Market failures and inequities continue to exist in both availability and access to needed medicines. We urge the private and public sectors to work together to implement innovative financing approaches to make medicines and healthcare more affordable and accessible to those in greatest need and with the least power to pay.
· Health systems are at various stages of development in Asia. Given the importance of a healthy population, we believe that the more developed nations could help the less developed with technical assistance and strengthening capacity, which would benefit the entire region.

4. Emerging Health Threats in Asia
· We note that non-communicable diseases (NCDs), especially cancer, cardiovascular, metabolic, and neurological disease, and mental health conditions are the leading causes of ill health and death in Asia, and will claim the lives of an estimated 52 million people globally by 2030. NCDs are exacerbated by ageing populations, changing lifestyles as a result of globalization and urbanization, consumption of unhealthy food and beverages, and the continued and heavy use of tobacco. The accelerated pace of economic development and socio-cultural changes in Asia are also creating unprecedented demands on health systems, especially in caring for the aged.
· It is increasingly recognized that maternal and early childhood health and nutrition may be linked to the long-term health of individuals and their predisposition to NCDs. Approximately 195 million children under the age of 5 in developing countries suffer from growth restriction when the mother is undernourished. Investment in maternal and early childhood health and nutrition should be undertaken with the view of improving the long term well-being of nations.
· Countries should anticipate the continued and increasing threat of emerging infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. We urge governments to continue surveillance efforts and build response capacity.

We strongly support the World Health Assembly’s call for a 25% reduction in relative mortality from noncommunicable diseases by 2025, also known as the 25 by 25 goal. This will require (1) resources, (2) advocacy, (3) the formation of effective partnerships, and (4) political leadership. This Summit is a significant step forward in turning these strategies into effective actions.

The M8 Alliance is a collaboration of academic institutions of educational and research excellence committed to improving global health, working with political and economic decision makers to develop science-based solutions. It consists of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA; Sorbonne Paris Cité, France; InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP); National University of Singapore; Monash University of Melbourne, Australia; Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Russian Federation; Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, China; Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan; Imperial College London, United Kingdom; London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom; University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; and International Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC).

Key stakeholders in healthcare will come together once again at the World Health Summit on 20-22 October 2013 in Berlin. The next regional meeting for the World Health Summit will be held in Brazil, South America in April 2014.

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For more information, please contact:
Joscelin KWEK Ruder Finn Asia (65) 6336 6451
kwekj@ruderfinnasia.com

Jeremy FOO Ruder Finn Asia (65) 6235 4495
fooj@ruderfinnasia.com

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