KOTA KINABALU: Over 600 representatives from 28 countries convened at the Asia-Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health Conference (APACPH) here, to address challenges in protecting and improving heath of the people and communities in the Asia-Pacific region. Held for the 50th time, this year’s conference themed “Milestone Event – Moving Forward to Address Challenges in Regional Health” is hosted by Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS). The participants comprising public health practitioners and academicians. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, in his speech, said the three-day APACPH 2018 conference would be extremely beneficial to all the nations in the Asia-Pacific region, especially Sabah and Malaysia in general. “Malaysia has made impressive achievement in its effort to improve health of its citizens. Key health status indicators such as life expectancy at birth have increased over the years. “Good indicators of overall health system performance such as infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate have been significantly reduced to levels that are comparable to those of developed nations,” he said. Shafie’s speech was delivered by State Health and People’s Wellbeing assistant minister Norazlinah Arif at the opening of 50th APACPH Conference 2018 held at the Sutera Habour Magellan, here. Shafie said Malaysia has one of the region’s better performing healthcare systems, adding the people enjoy a relatively high overall standard of health. While noting that communicable disease still pose a threat to many nations, he stressed Malaysia has been successful in overcoming many of them in the past. Launched in 1984 with just five members, APACPH now has 81 member institutions in 23 countries throughout Asia-Pacific with regional offices in Bangkok (Thailand), Beijing (China), Brisbane (Australia), Hawaii (United States), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and Tokyo (Japan).
Also present were Health Minister director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, APACPH president Prof Dr Masamine Jimba, and UMS vice-chancellor Datuk Dr D Kamarudin D Mudin. Earlier, Kamarudin in his speech said through APACPH activities, members aim to tackle unique public health challenges of the Asia -Pacific region. “Health care discipline today needs to be innovative in tackling new and current issues. If current methods are used but produce no results, novel methods should instead be envisioned. “Public health leaders must take the lead and not be complacent, and should be able to think outside the box when necessary. We must move with times or else we will be left out,” he said. The participating countries are Malaysia, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and United States. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd