Collaboration among small countries can go beyond implementing the Health 2020 vision, Minister of Health, George Pamboridis said on March 13, addressing the Global Health Diplomacy Course for Small Countries, in Nicosia.
The Minister recalled the statement in the San Marino Manifesto that “countries with smaller populations have significant advantage to promote and implement policies and strategies for health and well-being that draw on the contribution of many sectors. The experiences of small countries can provide useful learning opportunities that can then be employed at regional level in more populous nations”.
Pamboridis expressed the conviction that “the successful collaboration among small countries can go beyond implementing the Health 2020 vision, in vital areas of health, such as strengthening of the health system, the joint assurance of the acquisition of expensive drugs and specialized services for our people”.
At the same time he noted that health is used as a foreign policy tool and, reversely, foreign policy can work for health, the Cyprus News Agency reports.
As he explained, supporting the implementation of programmes can increase political reputation, improve relations with other states and actors and build alliances. “The motives of some governments behind these actions are often not clear, even if they involve financial assistance or humanitarian engagement. But irrespective of the “strategic intent” there is a huge benefit for health,” he said.
At the same time, he added, “there are many examples of foreign policy serving health”, citing the example of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, where, the Ministers of Health, at national level have to ensure representation and assurance of health interests, in a parallel period that other foreign policy priorities are discussed and have to advocate for positions that promote health and prevent disease.
He recalled the example of influenza A (H1N1) as one of the fast-moving threats mankind faced in 2009, noting that there was a need for intensive regional and global collaboration and the adoption of effective strategies with consequent additional resources at all levels. “It was during that period that the importance of implementing international health regulations and the need for countries to assess and act jointly on cross – border risks to public health security became apparent” said Pamporidis.
“Recognizing that domestic action alone will not be sufficient to ensure health locally, measures were addressed towards collective action on cross-border health risks. The problem got recognition at the highest political level, with Governments and Foreign Ministries being actively involved in the process, in an effort to combat the disease and mitigate the problem,” he added.
“Assisting disease stricken countries improved relations as well as dependencies” the Minister said.