Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Country Statement by Hon. Prof. Dr. Nelson Martins, MD, MHM, PhD

 Gabinete do Ministro

Country Statement
Hon. Dr. Nelson Martins, MD, MHM, PhD
Minister of Health at World Conference on Social Determinants of Health
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
19-21 October 2011

World Conference on Social Determinants of Health
19-21 October 2011, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Country Statement by Hon. Prof. Dr. Nelson Martins, MD, MHM, PhD
Minister of Health
Distinguished Commissioners,
Representatives from WHO Member States,
Representatives from bilateral and multilateral agencies, and civil society,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is with great privilege that I take part in this important Conference to discuss critical issues of Social Determinants of Health, while also defining clear steps towards making reducing health inequalities and promoting a healthier world.
My deepest congratulation goes to the Government of Brazil and to the World Health Organization for hosting and organizing such a productive event.
As a young nation, Timor-Leste struggles with the daily challenges of state building in the midst of poverty.
Social and cultural barriers to healthy lifestyles, coupled with new economic and political settings do pose major threats to our sustainable development.
As a Minister of Health, my regular concerns continue to be to strive for improved access and quality of health care for the Timorese people.
Access to medicines, of a qualified health professional, and to appropriate health infrastructure distributed freely in equitable manner to the Timorese people, within a structured health system, is a challenge.
But instead, the biggest challenge I face is how to ensure that theincreased General State Budget or donor funding for the health servicesare complementedby harmonized initiatives from other social, economic and political tiers of the government to allow for a sustainable development ofTimor-Leste.
The Government of Timor-Leste has recently published a new Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030 and parallel to this national strategic plan is the development of 20 years strategic plan by the different sectors, including health.
For the first time, the country is working together as one by integrating the different initiatives planned by several ministries into each others plan.
Health infrastructure development and strategies for an integrated vector control were also incorporated into the national infrastructure, water and sanitation plan; development of health human resources is part of the Ministry of Education twenty years plan; strategies to reduce malnutrition is cross cutting those strategies incorporated at the education, commerce and agriculture plans. The vision is one, but the route to get there requires many helping hands.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Health does not stand alone. On the contrary, it is here and it is embedded everywhere. Therefore health must be at the heart of every institutional setting and included in every sector’s political agenda.
During the past two days, I learnt how committed different actors are in addressing the social determinants of health and that there are too many things to be done. I will return back to my country energized to advocate more for consolidated efforts towards placing health equity as everybody’s business.
This World Conference has inspired me to advocate for a national conference on social determinants health, thus, joining a wide array of policy-makers and the civil society in order to create together an environment that promotes good health for all.
Thank you all very much for listening.

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