KUALA LUMPUR: Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah called on those in the field of military healthcare to forge greater cooperation domestically and globally in response to current health security threats.
Sultan Nazrin said the unchecked spread of infectious diseases across borders, including the COVID pandemic, was unfortunately not the only health-related security threat the world was facing.
“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 and preparedness, and to building resilience,” the ruler said in his keynote address at the Indo-Pacific Military Health Exchange (IPMHE 2023) here today.
Also present were Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and Chief of Defence Force General Tan Sri Mohammad Ab Rahman.
Sultan Nazrin, who is also Colonel in Chief of the Royal Medical and Dental Corps, pointed out that by working together, including through fora such as the IPMHE event, the medical health corps could contribute from their own individual perspectives to the broader collective effort that was so necessary.
In line with the theme of the event ‘Achieving Health Solutions Through Diversity and Inclusivity’, the Sultan said it was through such inclusivity and diversity that they could 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 pandemic. 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,” he said.
The Sultan also 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 maximized, while the negative ones are regulated and controlled.
Furthermore, His Royal Highness said the existential risks posed by technological advances include generative 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,” Sultan Nazrin added.
The four-day IPMHE 2023 is the sixth in its series and is co-hosted by the Malaysian Armed Forces Health Services and the United States Indo-Pacific Command. This is the second exchange being held in Malaysia after the first one in Kuantan, Pahang, in 2016.
IPMHE is bringing together up to 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, with the primary goal of sharing experiences and knowledge in military medicine and healthcare, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, marine and aviation medicine emergencies, and many others.
Overall, the exchange’s scientific programmes will feature four keynote lectures, three plenary sessions, 12 symposia, two forums, two workshops, and 74 poster presentations.
Also lined up is a visit to the Malaysian Armed Forces Field Hospital as part of the Starlight Exercise 2023 at the Tuanku Mizan Armed Forces Hospital on Sept 28. - Bernama