Mental Health for a Healthier World

Amongst other issues, mental health was the main agenda of the 75th WHO, RCM meet

With the pledge to build a resilient, inclusive health system that can effectively respond to emergencies in the future and address pressing public health issues through comprehensive primary health services, the 75th session of the five-day Regional Committee Meeting (RCM) of the World Health Organization (WHO), ended on Friday. The principal agenda for the meeting was “Mental Health.”

The Meeting also saw the implementation of the roadmap for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases in South-East Asia 2022-2030, along with the action plans for oral health and integrated people-centered eye care in South-East Asia 2022-2010 endorsed.

The health minister, Dasho Dechen Wangmo stressed how the RCM has presented the opportunity to rethink, redesign and rewrite strategies and interventions to accelerate and enhance equitable quality health services and systems for the South East Asia region.

“The Ministerial round table meeting will deliberate on addressing mental health and call for collective support and increased investment in mental health services, which has been on tolls for two and half years due to Covid 19 pandemic,” Lyonpo said,

Additionally, the RCM also adopted the Paro Declaration on Universal Access to people- Centered Mental Health Care and Services, which was placed in person for the first time in three years as a result of the epidemic.

According to the Ministry of Health, the declaration will focus on five key areas which are building the technical capacities of the member states, raising awareness of mental health and mobilizing financial resources to bridge the treatment gap, establishing a regional knowledge and training hub to coordinate the process of generating evidence in mental health. The others are providing technical cooperation in the area of mental health and psychosocial support and reporting on the progress of the implementation of the Paro declaration in the WHO regional committee every two years. 

Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo also divulged that in line with the declaration, the Pema Center is the response to the increasing mental health-related issues. The Pema Centre is a hospital for mental health and well-being.

“It is a Royal Initiative of Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen. The Pema Center will be a 60-bedded hospital inclusive of outpatient consultation and counseling, emergency services, treatment and procedure rooms, pharmacy, and inpatient wards,” Lyonpo said. 

Lyonpo added that this profound and timely initiative will provide a platform to re-strategize and re-orient efforts in addressing mental health issues in the country.

Further, the RCM also states that accelerating progress for non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention and control are under the roadmap for prevention and control of NCD.

 “The regional NCD Implementation Roadmap 2022–2030 provides strategic directions to accelerate the national NCD response through the primary health care and universal health coverage routes to improve access, coverage, and quality of NCD prevention and control interventions for the achievement of the 2025 and 2030 NCD targets,” the press release states,

Meanwhile, the Regional Committee also examined member states’ advancements on previous resolutions and international plans about health and climate change, maternal and child health, youth and child health, polio eradication, and the abolition of measles and rubella.

Tshering Pelden from Thimphu