BANGKOK, 16 December 2014 - The ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers gathered for the Special Meeting on Ebola Preparedness and Response yesterday. They discussed the ways forward of strengthening regional mechanisms and increasing national capacity to prevent the Ebola as well as other emerging infectious diseases pandemics. The opening ceremony was graced by H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand and attended by H.E Le Luong Minh, Secretary General of ASEAN, Health Ministers or representatives from ASEAN Plus Three Countries as well as representatives of ASEAN Secretariat, and other international organisations.

Through video-taped messages, Dr. Margaret Chen, Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO), called Ebola the new Public Health Emergency of International Concern and global threat. Mr. Anthony Banbury, Head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response shared the Situation and Global Response on Ebola Outbreak in West Africa. H.E. Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah, Minister of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone, highlighted the challenge of addressing the Ebola outbreak in his country.

Dr. Poonam Khetrapa Singh, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO), and Dr. Shin Young-soo, Regional Director of WHO Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO), discussed WHO support to the Ebola preparedness and response in the regions.

The ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers exchanged views on the regional collaboration for Ebola response and noted the Strategic Framework of Actions for Enhancing Collaborations among ASEAN Plus Three Countries for the preparedness and response to Ebola, emerging infectious diseases and other public health emergencies which contains immediate actions for 2015 as well as Medium/Long Term Actions for 2015-2020. The Ministers then endorsed the Joint Statement of the ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers’ Special Meeting on Ebola Preparedness and Response.