WHO team to help State meet health targets


A four-member team from the World Health Organisation (WHO) is in the capital to explore the ways in which it can cooperate with the Health Department in addressing the challenge of non-communicable diseases (NCD) and assist the State in achieving health targets in sync with those under UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The group held a preliminary round of discussions on Monday with a core team of experts who have been working with the Health Department on the SDG targets.

Senior Health officials handling NCD programmes under the SDG group – including mental health and cancer – took part in the discussions and identified the areas where the State would benefit from inputs and support from the WHO.

“Kerala was the first State to develop a State-specific health agenda, with the SDG-linked health targets. The WHO has been very appreciative of this. As a State which has always been far ahead in implementing health schemes, they are also looking to learn from our experiences,” a Health official said.

Sadhana Bhagwat, National Professional Officer (NCDs), WHO India, told The Hindu that the WHO had access to the best of global health practices and adapting these to suit the State’s needs was one of the key areas where WHO could help Kerala.

“One of the focus area will be NCD prevention. Population-level risk control of NCDs would require more than just working with the community. We will have to work at the health policy level and create an environment for the preventive strategies to work. Health financing and health costing studies is another area where WHO can assist the State,” Dr. Bhagawat said.

The WHO team is led by Prakin Suchaxaya, Coordinator Health Programs, WHO India.