JEDDAH, 17th November, 2015 (WAM) — The 5th Islamic Conference of Health Ministers, which begins today in Istanbul, Turkey, under the chairmanship of Turkey, is set to adopt important decisions identifying priorities and follow-up actions pertaining to the major health challenges of the OIC countries.

It will also discuss ways to strengthen national health systems, intensifying national actions and international cooperation for the prevention and control of diseases, promotion of self-reliance in the production and supply of medicines, vaccines, and medical technologies, improving maternal and child health, and promoting cooperation in health education, training and capacity-building.

Running from 17th-19th November, the conference will be attended by a large number of high-level delegations, including Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Health of OIC Member States, observer states and international organisations.

The UN agencies and other international partners who will be attending the conference include WHO, Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the Global Fund for fighting HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, GAVI, Stop TB Partnership, Roll Back Malaria, UNICEF, UNFPA and USAID.

Among other thing, the conference will review the status of polio eradication efforts in member states, progress of joint projects by the OIC General Secretariat, IDB and IAEA for tackling cancer in OIC countries in Africa, maternal and newborn health projects for selected countries and synergistic implementation of SHPA objectives and health-related UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The conference will also include four panel discussions involving internal experts. These will focus on Tackling cancer, preparedness and response in health emergencies, technology addiction and NGO involvement in the improvement of health services in OIC member states.