The conference of “Partners for Health in South-East Asia” was organized by the World Health Organization, inaugurated by Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister of Health & Family Welfare, India, on 16th march 2011. The conference showed participation of Ministers from 11 Member States along with high-level representatives from donor countries. The conference aims at strengthening collaboration for health and encouraging effective and sustainable partnerships. WHO and partners will deliberate on priority health issues in the WHO South-East Asia Region. The issues to be discussed at the conference the UN Millennium Development Goals, Non-communicable diseases and Universal Access to Health services. Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad in his inaugural address insisted on committing towards instituting a best health care system in our region, which is equitable, affordable and accessible by all sections of the society. He says, “Let us resolve that we will not allow our poor and vulnerable to suffer on account of a health care system which is unavailable and unaffordable”. Although significant progress has been achieved in improving the health of the people in South-East Asia, much remains to be done. The Region bears a staggering and disproportionately high proportion (40%) of the world’s disease burden with about a quarter of the world’s population. India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand account for more than 99% of the 3.5 million HIV-positive cases in the Region. There are five million TB cases estimated in the Region and annually more than three million new TB cases emerge. Around 94% of reported malaria cases and deaths in the Region are from India, Indonesia and Myanmar. Partners from 11 Member States (Bangladesh, Bhutan, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste) along with multilateral and intergovernmental organizations, civil society, foundations, corporations and research/academic institutions will deliberate on key health issues at the conference over the next three days.

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