KUALA LUMPUR, 3 OCT – Those in the field of military healthcare were urged to forge greater cooperation domestically and globally, in response to current health security threats.
Making the call, colonel-in-chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces’ Royal Medical and Dental Corps, Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah, said the unchecked spread of infectious diseases across borders, including the Covid-19 pandemic, was not the only health-related security threat faced by the world.
“The growing number of adverse climate-related events such as floods, fires, hurricanes, landslides and storm surges, together constitute another area of non-traditional health-related security threats.
“Military forces and their healthcare operations are increasingly being called on in this context, both to respond to immediate emergencies and their aftermath, and to contribute to prevention, preparedness and build resilience,” His Majesty said in his keynote address at the ‘Indo-Pacific Military Health Exchange 2023’ (IPMHE 2023) at the Shangri-La Hotel in Jalan Sultan Ismail.
Present at the event, themed: ‘Achieving Health Solutions Through Diversity and Inclusivity’, was Malaysian Armed Forces Health Services Division director-general Lieutenant-General Datuk (Dr) Zulkeffeli Mat Jusoh.
Sultan Nazrin said that by working together, including through forums such as the IPMHE, the medical health corps could contribute from their own individual perspectives to the broader collective effort.
“It is through such inclusivity and diversity that they can develop optimal solutions to the many difficult challenges.
“Such inclusive approaches bear fruit at the domestic level as well as we saw so clearly during the Covid-19 pandemic. “The medical corps here and around the world played an absolutely vital role in supporting and complementing civilian efforts.
“This humanitarian role will only expand as such emergencies increase in the coming years and decades.
“So, we must continue to strengthen our ability to respond effectively to them, through greater collaboration and through collective action,” the ruler said.
He stressed that military healthcare operations must also remain at the forefront of the technological advance, which would allow potential positive impacts of these technologies to be maximised, while the negative ones were regulated and controlled.
“The existential risks posed by technological advances include generative artificial intelligence (AI); the gravity of global health security threats brought home so forcefully by the pandemic; and the increasing occurrence and severity of adverse climate events.
“Not only must all these issues be confronted collectively, but such a collaborative approach is required at a time of shifting and uncertain geo-political dynamics which create additional constraints to effective collective action.
“I believe, however, that military healthcare is one area in which we may be able to overcome such constraints,” said Sultan Nazrin
The four-day ‘IPMHE 2023’ was the sixth in its series and is co-hosted by the Malaysian Armed Forces Health Services Division and the United States Indo-Pacific Command.
Malaysia hosted it for the second time, after the first one in Kuantan, Pahang in 2016, while Japan will host the 2025 edition in Tokyo.
The ‘IPMHE 2023’ brought together 500 representatives from 24 countries and international organisations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region such as Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Maldives and Mongolia.
Its primary goal is that of sharing experiences and knowledge in military medicine and healthcare, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, marine and aviation medicine emergencies.
It featured four keynote lectures, three plenary sessions, 12 symposia, two forums, two workshops and 74 poster presentations.
It culminated with a visit to the Tuanku Mizan Armed Forces Hospital in Wangsa Maju to witness the closing of the ‘Exercise Starlight 2023’ and a demonstration of the field hospital facilities there. – airtimes.my