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International Policy of Health Department of Australia

17/12/2018 | 07:27 AM

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In 2017-18, the Department of Health of Australia continued to pursue Australia’s health interests through participation in international fora, maintaining country-to-country partnerships and harnessing information on international best practice. Active engagement in international health fora, and securing Australia’s interests at relevant meetings of key international health bodies and organisations, helps to strengthen global health systems capacity, and fulfils Australia’s responsibility to contribute to improving global and regional public health. These outcomes assist in protecting the health of Australians and contribute to policies and actions that help to advance the health of the Australian community.


Australia’s continued engagement with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Health Committee’s work in 2017-18, underpinned the development of health policy by providing internationally comparable data with a range of indicators such as health care quality and health system performance. The OECD Health Committee’s work informed Australia’s long-term health reform agenda in areas such as people-centered care, mental health benchmarking, digital health data governance and preventive health. The Department also reports on Australia’s progress against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) health indicators through the Australian Government’s Reporting Platform on the SDG

Australia had the honour of hosting the sixty-eighth session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific (RCM68) from 9–13 October 2017 in Brisbane. The meeting was attended by Health Ministers and senior government officials from across the 37 countries and areas of the WHO’s Western Pacific region, as well as leading academics and non-government representatives active in international health. The Secretary chaired the week long meeting, where discussions focused on critical issues for our region, including strengthening regulatory and food safety systems, accelerating action on non-communicable diseases, including childhood obesity and mental health, and furthering efforts to combat communicable diseases including tuberculosis, hepatitis, measles and rubella. Hosting RCM68 provided a valuable opportunity for Australia to showcase its credentials as a global and regional leader in health and to strengthen its bilateral relationships with regional partners on priority health issues, such as regional health security and implementation of the International Health Regulations.​