By Aisha Tamba
The WHO regional director for Africa has emphasised the need to provide a health care system that provides health care and financial protection in the African region.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti made this remarks on Sunday at the commemoration of the World Health Day 2019 under the theme universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere, every time.
“This year’s commemoration of World Health Day shines a spotlight on the advantages Universal Health Coverage (UHC) can bring to all people and in all places and also why it is needed so much.It is needed because it ensures that everyone – no matter who they are, no matter where they live and no matter when they need it – can access essential, quality health services without facing financial hardship,” She said.
She further disclosed that progress towards health-related and broader development goals can only be possible by providing access to essential quality care and protection from financial hardship to everyone, everywhere.
She added that globally, WHO is attempting to get one billion more people to benefit from quality health services and financial protection by 2023.
“We need to if we want to reach Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 3.8 on achieving universal health coverage by 2030,” she said.
Dr Matchdisho noted that health systems strengthening for UHC is one of the key instruments for the change offered by the 2030 Agenda.
“This entails integration of good stewardship, adequate financing, qualified and motivated health workforce, access to quality medicines and health products, functional health information systems and people-centred service delivery systems.
Dr Moeti recalled that in 2018 the WHO flagship publication, State of Health in the WHO African Region provided a cross-cutting analysis of the health status, services and systems of individual African countries in the context of UHC and other health-related SDG targets.
“It identified low funding for health, low availability of services and under-investment in the health workforce,” She said.
She added: “Considering this, I am accelerating support to countries to re-align their services and consider strategic shifts to achieve UHC.This involves re-assessing their essential services to ensure they are designed for ‘everyone, everywhere and every time’, and then introducing innovative approaches to deliver these services.
“For example, if we can harness the power of the bulging youth population in the region, and make use of digital solutions, we can put in place innovative systems to deliver UHC for the people of Africa,” she explained.