HANOI, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) — Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have committed themselves to strengthening healthcare cooperation with a vision of “A Healthy, Caring and Sustainable ASEAN Community.”

The commitment was stated in a joint statement adopted at the 12th ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting which was held in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi from Monday to Friday.

In the joint statement, ASEAN members will strengthen cooperation in various fields, including promoting healthy lifestyle, responding to all hazards and emerging threats, strengthening health system and access to care, as well as ensuring food safety.

ASEAN members pledge to strengthen primary healthcare in order to achieve universal health coverage and increase access to primary healthcare for ASEAN people, prevent and control non- communicable diseases and newly-emerging infectious ones, and set up a sustainable and effective health financing system.

Meanwhile, ministers and heads of delegations responsible for health of ASEAN members plus three partners of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea have committed themselves to strengthening cooperation in areas of traditional medicine, health-related issues of aging, pandemic preparedness and response, communicable diseases and emerging infectious diseases.

In addition, the ASEAN-China Health Ministers Meeting also released a joint statement noting ASEAN-China cooperation in communicable disease prevention and control, especially the collaboration on malaria, dengue fever, HIV/AIDS, and plague prevention and control in border areas, as well as prevention of newly emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola, H7N9, H5N1, and MERS-CoV.

The 12th ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting and related meetings took place in Hanoi from Monday to Friday with the participation of some 450 delegates.

On Thursday, the ASEAN secretary general and representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Healthcare Cooperation during 2014-2017 between ASEAN and WHO.

ASEAN comprises 10 member countries — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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