ACCESS Health International was invited to participate as a key partner in the Second Annual Meeting of the WHO’s SEAR PHC Forum, held in Sri Lanka from October 16 to 18, 2023. Dr Krishna Reddy Nallamalla, President, Asia; Mr Maulik Chokshi, Deputy Country Director (Technical); and Dr Uma Aysola, Director of Communications, Relations, and Partnerships represented us and had the opportunity to experience a culture of shared learning, synergy, and action across the region.

The three-day event brought together more than 100 delegates representing the Ministries of Health of the Member States in the Southeast Asia Region, as well as officials from WHO, including representatives from headquarters, the Regional Office for Southeast Asia, and various country offices, along with key partners.

The highlight of the meeting occurred on the third day when delegates embarked on a field visit to gain first-hand experience of PHC operations in Sri Lanka. The visit began at the National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) in Kalutara, the premier public health training institute of the Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka, with a history dating back to 1926. Participants also visited Divisional Hospital Bandaragama and Base Hospital Panadura to observe curative PHC service provision in action.

The field visit concluded at the recently inaugurated Center for Health Systems Policy and Innovation (CHSPI), established to support the Ministry of Health in generating high-quality evidence for informed decision-making, capacity development for the health workforce, knowledge sharing, consensus building around health sector reforms, and testing new service delivery models and innovations related to PHC.

The SEAR PHC Forum is bringing together key PHC-focused development, implementation, research, and civil society partners to share and translate operational learning into action, while also strengthening collaboration. The successful conduct of the Second Annual Meeting of the SEAR PHC Forum has further strengthened the shared vision and partnership among all stakeholders.

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