Start of work of WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean with the participation of Syria

With the participation of Syria, the work of the 67th session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean was launched today via Internet and will last for two days.  During the session, Minister of Health, Dr. Hassan Muhammad Al-Ghabash, was elected as deputy head of the regional committee.

In his speech, Minister Ghabash noted that the world is still facing a major challenge due to the Corona pandemic, which has left long-term health, economic and societal effects on various countries of the world- which in turn requires everyone's solidarity and cooperation to come out with the least possible losses from the repercussions of this epidemic.


Minister Al-Ghobash affirmed that the health sector in Syria continues to address the Corona pandemic, despite the exceptional circumstances imposed by the terrorist war that has continued for more than nine years, which led to the destruction and sabotage of many health centers, facilities and medical equipment.

The Minister of Health called for lifting the unilateral coercive economic measures imposed on Syria, which restrict the ability of the health sector to perform its duty towards the Syrians and  to protect their health security. He indicated that at a time when many countries that have strong health and economic systems face difficulty in containing the epidemic and saving lives, the United States of America and European countries imposed their inhuman blockade on Syria and its people, which hinders the importation of medicines and the maintenance of medical equipment.

“Despite the challenges imposed by the conditions of war and the siege, the health sector has used its human and material capabilities as much as possible to confront the Covid 19 pandemic. It  allocated treatment, isolation and quarantine centers, applied treatment and preventive protocols and updated them in accordance with global and local developments and enhanced the capabilities of surveillance teams to contain suspected cases and control epidemic spread. It also  expanded in the national laboratories for detecting Corona in parallel with spreading awareness of community and individual prevention methods,” the Minister asserted.

The Minister of Health added that the health sector continues to fulfil its obligations to provide curative and diagnostic medical services, provide medicines for chronic patients and oncology free of charge, and activate family medicine while continuing with the national vaccination program and the campaigns for polio. He pointed out that the health sector is gradually recovering by rehabilitating health institutions destroyed by terrorism, opening new departments and centers, and supporting the ambulance system.

During the session, health ministers and representatives from 22 countries in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region discuss with partner organizations and civil society key public health issues of priority.

The session's agenda focuses on issues of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, polio eradication, discussing progress made in expanding family practice, engaging the private sector to promote universal health coverage, health laboratory services, and implementing the regional strategic framework for blood safety and availability.

It is noteworthy that the Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean meets in October of each year, and attended by all countries of the region. The member states in the sessions of the Regional Committee discuss and approve regional policies, activities and financial plans.


Inas Abdulkareem