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IRCS Secretary General Attends The Global Health & Care Forum 2008
19.05.2008: New Delhii  

‘We need to integrate the health programme with disaster related activities. We may also work towards community based first-aid and reach out to the vulnerable population’ said Prof. (Dr) S.P. Agarwal, Secretary General, IRCS on his return from Global Health and Care Forum 2008. The conference was held from May 14th – 16th, 2008 at the Secretariat of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva. More than 120 Red Cross and Red Crescent health delegates from all over the world, several representatives of ministries of health and WHO delegation under the leadership of its Director General attended the meeting.

The growing impact of long term health programmes implemented by Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and the necessity to further increase access to primary health care were the main themes discussed during the three-day Global Health and Care Forum 2008.

Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization in her keynote address mentioned “I appreciate the enormous capacity embodied in the International Federation, with its global workforce of almost 100 million people. This is a workforce uniquely well-placed to penetrate inaccessible areas under the most challenging conditions,”.

A joint Letter of Cooperation was signed in 2005 between the International Federation and the World Health Organization to work closely on ridding the world with health problems. A Memorandum of Understanding, further increasing cooperation was signed with the World Health Organization regional office for Europe on May 16th, 2008 Friday during the meeting.

Thirty years after the Declaration of Alma Ata which marked a watershed in development by defining health as a key entry point to reduce inequality in access to basic health needs, a lot still needs to be achieved at the community level. “We have the feeling that sometimes governments are not exploring ways in which volunteers can best contribute to primary healthcare programmes despite their unrivalled knowledge of the communities they serve,” said Markku Niskala, Secretary General of the International Federation.

The forum identified health related issues such as bird flu, malaria, measles, tuberculosis, HIV, polio that require increased attention of the Red Cross movement for better delivery of health services to the community. “The Indian Red Cross Society is already working in some of the areas and measles, TB are high on our agenda, said” Dr. Agarwal

Courtesy: Inputs from the NEWS RELEASE issued from IFRC, Geneva

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