Press Release

Press Release- SAARC Health Ministers’ Video Conference to address the COVID-19 pandemic, 23 April 2020

SAARC Health Ministers’ Video Conference to address the COVID-19 pandemic was held today. Organized by the Government of Pakistan, the Conference was attended by all the Member States.

Hon’ble Dr. Zafar Mirza, Minister of State for Health of Pakistan chaired the Conference. After his opening remarks, the Heads of Delegation from the Member States briefed on their country situations and shared experiences in combating the outbreak of COVID-19. They also reiterated the importance of regional cooperation and solidarity to address and mitigate the unprecedented threat posed by the pandemic to the region.

The Video Conference was attended by Hon’ble Dr. Waheed Majrooh, Deputy Minister of Health Care Services of Afghanistan; Prof. Dr. Abul Kalam Azad, Director General of the Directorate General of the Health Services of Bangladesh; Dr. Ugen Dophu, Secretary, Ministry of Health of Bhutan; Prof. Rajiv Garg, Director General of Health Services of India; Ms. Maimoona Aboobakuru, Director General of Public Health of the Maldives; Hon’ble Mr. Nabaraj Raut, State Minister for Health and Population of Nepal; and Dr. Paba Palihawadane, Deputy Director General of Public Health Services of Sri Lanka.

H. E. Mr. Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, Secretary General of SAARC, also participated in the Conference. In his remarks, the Secretary General expressed readiness of the SAARC Secretariat to assist the Member States in the fight against the global pandemic. 

It is recalled that at the SAARC Leaders’ Video Conference on COVID-19, proposed by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, held on 15 March 2020, a SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund was created to which all the Member States have pledged voluntary contributions. As a follow-up to the Conference of the SAARC Leaders, meetings of Health Professionals and Trade Officials of the SAARC countries have also been held.


23 April 2020

SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu.