Gambia joined the comity of nations in commemoration of World Health Day last
Thursday. The event was spearheaded by the country’s ministry of health and
social welfare in partnership with World Health Organisation.
World Health Day is a global health awareness activity that is celebrated annually in World Health Organisation –WHO- member states. This year is the 70th anniversary of the commemoration focusing on universal health coverage that will allow everyone everywhere to access essential quality health care without facing financial hardship.
WHO Gambia representative Dr. Desta Tiruneh said the wish of the global health agency is for every person to have access to the highest possible level of health through the execution of its core functions by providing leadership on matters critical to health and engaging in partnership where joint action is needed.
According to him, almost 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty and forced to survive on just $1.90 or less a day, because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets. “Over 800 million, almost 12% of the world’s population spend at least 10% of their household budgets on health expenses for themselves, sick child or other family members. This is what we call catastrophic expenditures.” He explained.
Alhagie Janko Jimbala, deputy permanent secretary (technical) of health ministry on his part declared that the day is important to his ministry and committed to all the procedures.
According to him, the recent WHO and World Bank data clearly stated that at least half of the world’s population still did not have access to essential quality health services, saying that was a major global challenge. “Universal Health Coverage is not a dream for the future; it is a reality now. It recognies political commitments that require adequate financing of health care services and this is a huge challenge to Gambia government and many other governments around the world particularly in Africa.”
Mr. Jimbala also appealed to journalists to use their media to inspire, motivate and guide the universal health coverage increasing commitment.