President Jokowi Conveys Three Focuses on Health Security at ASEAN Plus Three Summit

President Joko Widodo delivers three messages on improving health resilience during the 24th ASEAN Plus Three Summit.

Indonesian President, Joko Widodo (Jokowi) conveyed three points that could be the focus of ASEAN Plus Three (APT) in the development of health security. He stated that long-term investment is necessary in order to deal with the potential future pandemic.

First, increasing the capacity of national health services is an absolute basis as the first line of defense in the face of a pandemic. The President emphasized that national health can be the foundation of regional health resilience.

“The national health insurance system must also continue to be strengthened, especially access for marginalized groups. Improvements in the national pandemic handling strategy need to be carried out, including collaborating with the WHO Country and Regional Office," said President Joko Widodo during a virtual speech at the 24th APT High Level Conference (KTT) quoted via the page on Wednesday ( 27/10/2021).

Jokowi at ASEAN Plus Three 24th Summit
President Joko Widodo while attending the 24th ASEAN Plus Three Summit virtually at the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, Wednesday (27/10/2021). (Photo: BPMI Setpres/Kris)

Second, medical needs must be fulfilled by starting to build reserve in the region. The President said that the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies could be developed into an inventory buffer for regional medical needs.

In terms of production capacity, the President Jokowi elaborated that this aspect must be strengthened through investment support, technology transfer, and access to production of raw materials.

"In a pandemic situation, regional health funding is needed. The ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund can be strengthened to become the ASEAN Emergency Health Fund," added the President.

Furthermore. the third point, President Jokowi said that it was necessary to strengthen coordination in terms of aligning policies to deal with the pandemic. According to him, coordinated handling will have a greater impact.

“We also need to develop a mechanism for distributing medical needs quickly and evenly in the area during an emergency. For this reason, the ASEAN Emergency Operation Center Network for Public Health must be utilized optimally," said the Head of State. 

The ASEAN Plus Three (APT) cooperative relationship began to form since 1997 involving the 10 ASEAN countries and three East Asian countries, namely China, Japan and South Korea.