DAMASCUS, Syria, March 12 (UPI) -- Syria is on the path toward developing a thriving healthcare system in part from its cooperation with the World Health Organization, officials said.
WHO Director General Margaret Chan met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus to discuss Syria's cooperation with the organization.
"The Syrian people have a president who is working for his people and his country," Chan said in a statement to the Syrian Arab News Agency.
Assad said his Baathist government has placed great emphasis on the health sector, adding Damascus was looking to upgrade the system by finding more ways to cooperate with WHO.
The Baath Party in Syria takes healthcare seriously, officials said, though funding is an issue. WHO reports that 95 percent of the population had access to health services as of 2006.
Chan met also with Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Ottri to discuss the possibility of launching an exchange program for preventive and reproductive health as well as the food-safety and pharmaceutical sectors.
The meeting with Chan came as Arab officials met in Damascus Thursday to launch the 33rd session of the Arab Health Ministers Council.