KATHMANDU: Health ministers from eleven countries of Southeast Asian Region are taking part in a regional conference on burning health issues confronting the region, one of which is pandemic influenza A (H1N1), scheduled to begin September 7 in the capital.

Other issues likely to figureout in the conference to be organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) include: preparedness in the wake of the spread of the H1N1virus, and knowledge-sharing on the pandemic for carrying out research activities.

Participants are also discussing access to vaccines among member countries. Also in the agenda is climate change and its impact on human health .

Dr Yashovardhan Pradhan, spokesperson at the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) said that the meeting is also a part of the follow-up progress on the New Delhi Declaration on the impact of climate change on human health, adopted by the ministers in 2008.

Meanwhile, Dr Alex Andjaparidze, WHO representative to Nepal, said that the meeting of health ministers would help in the exchange of national experiences on the social, political, and economic dimensions of health.

On the occasion, Kunda Dixit, senior journalist said the media had the uppermost role in this regard to disseminate accurate information to the public. Citing the recent outbreak of diarrhoea in Jajarkot, Dixit said that the vulnerable population should be well-informed about preventive measures. Similarly, Dr Babu Ram Marasini, senior health administrator at MoHP said that Nepal needs to develop what he described as ‘sectorial’ and ‘inter-sectorial’ policies and action plans to address the challenges brought by climate change.