KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will place more resources and efforts in providing the necessary interventions for students who need mental health assistance, especially through using technology tools that may be more familiar for a digitally-native generation, said Khairy Jamaluddin.

The Health Minister said an adequate mental support should be given to school children as the COVID-19 pandemic and school closure had significant effects on their mental health.

"The closure of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted greatly on our children. This is compounded by the effects of social media on shaping our children's thought, feelings and behaviour.

"The ramifications of prolonged school closures would not be fully understood until we see the effects in years to come. We must ensure that schools will no longer be shut," he said in his intervention note of the 72nd session of the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific in Himeji, Japan today.

In his intervention note, Khairy also called for the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines for children when they get regulatory approval as it will protect children to learn safely at their schools.

He does not want the inequitable delivery commitments currently being fulfilled for vaccines to date being repeated.

He said Malaysia also acknowledges the importance of nurturing healthy and resilient future generations through schools and education and highly appreciated the effort to invest in the education system towards a more supportive and safer environment in nurturing optimal health among children.

Khairy also pointed out that Malaysia remains concerned about the double burden of malnutrition on children.

"We have set up a bipartisan, whole of government task force to address the issue of stunting among some of our children in Malaysia," he said.

On the issue of the campaign on tobacco control for health promoting schools, Khairy said Malaysia will join some other member states soon in regulating electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), especially in ensuring that they do not become accessible for school children.

On Sunday, Khairy led a Malaysian delegation to the 72nd World Health Organisation Western Pacific Region Committee Meeting (WPRCM), which is being held in Himeji from Oct 25 until 29.