Address by Right Honourable President Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari at the Twelfth South Asian Regional Conference of Otolaryngologists (South Asian ENT Congress).

Honourable Minister of Health,

Specialists and medical doctors,

Delegates from different countries,

Ladies and gentlemen!

It is indeed an honour to welcome you and exchange my views with you at this South Asian Regional Conference of ENT experts and health professionals. On this occasion, I congratulate you in advance for the success of the conference; and express my special thanks to the organizers for bringing the conference back to Nepal after almost over a decade.

I am pleased to see this important conference, which is of special significance for enhancing your professional skills, being hosted in Nepal. In the past two years, we were faced to an unprecedented crisis brought about by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Today, this conference with physical presence has given sufficient indications that we are now gradually recovering from it,  thanks to the availability of vaccines and various policies pursued by our nations in the region and the world.

The pandemic has given us a clarion call to prioritize public health above all. It has further mandated us to utilize modern science and technology and the acceleration of globalization for the benefit of our people. It is in this context that the conference like this enables us to share experiences and skills in all the areas of significance, including medical science.

I believe, this conference holds further importance in enhancing people-to-people and expert-community relations among the member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and beyond. Disease, hunger, and poverty are our biggest challenges in the region. Stronger cooperation and coordination, tailored to the realities of our contexts and aware of our capabilities and skills will help us meet these challenges. The interaction among our nations and people continues to strengthen the SAARC spirit of cooperation. In this regard, I highly appreciate and commend the contribution your organization has been making.

I hope that the discussions and decisions made at this conference will make us more aware of the latest technologies developed in the treatment and diagnosis of ENT diseases and also share skills and experiences to forge deeper partnerships. Having witnessed experts participating from the SAARC region and many friendly countries of the world, I also see this conference as a froum of developing knowledge on ENT diseases.

I have been told that the nature of ENT diseases remains largely similar in the South Asian region. Therefore, the resolutions of this conference can guide us in formulating common strategies for solutions. The global community will also be able to take advantage of your expert undertakings.

In Nepal, we have a big challenge to expand the specialist treatment of ENT disease to the rural areas in the service of our people. Our goal continues to be to provide expert services to every citizen by developing physical infrastructure as well as skilled human resource in the entire health sector. For this, cooperation between the concerned bodies of the Government of Nepal and the experts remains mandatory. The diagnosis and treatment of ENT diseases will reduce the problem of hearing disability, speech-and-language disability and increase the self-confidence, self-esteem, and morale of the beneficiaries and the workforce engaged in this field. I believe that many of the ENT ailments can be reduced by stressing on prevention rather than on cure, maintaining a clean environment, taking a hygienic and balanced diet, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Our public health system needs to be strengthened to put into practice our belief that ‘only health is the real wealth’. For this, the state should be able to make a concrete contribution in raising efficient health workers by emphasizing the development of medical education. At the same time, the state has to recognize the need of scaled-up investment in research and development for the advancement of specialized health services. With this strategy in effect, the children of low-income families will get opportunities to enter medical education while the poor and marginalized people will have access to health care facilities.

I expect this conference to make important decisions and have far-reaching impacts towards alleviating our common challenges in the field of diagnosis and treatment of ENT diseases. I wish all foreign delegates a pleasant stay in Nepal.  I wish you a grand success of this conference once again.

Thank you.

Friday 27 May 2022

Kathmandu, Nepal