WHO Director affirms commitment to member states

Thursday, April 19, 2018

World Health Organization –WHO- Africa regional director Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said the global health agency African department remains committed and resolute to support member states to achieve universal health coverage (UHC).

A statement to this effect was delivered at Gambia’s commemoration of 2018 World Health Day –WHD- and the 40th anniversary of the 1978 Alma Ata Declaration that advocates and targets health for all by 2000.

Dr. Matshidiso said WHO has developed a framework of actions to assist countries in selecting their own path towards achieving both UHC and the Sustainable Development Goals. He said they have also developed a flagship programme that is geared to providing integrated and holistic support to countries through the implementation of support and a regional learning programme for UHC and more. “UHC means ensuring that everyone has access to essential quality health services without facing financial hardship. It is a powerful equalizer that ensures health for all, enhances health security, reduces poverty and promotes gender equality.”

He said over the past 70 years of WHO existence, there have been major advances in health and health technology, including life-saving medicines for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, hypertension and diabetes. “In the African region, health outcomes have been improved through strategies such as distributing insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria and vaccinating against the human papillomavirus which causes cervical cancer.”

According to him, several countries in the region including Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal and Uganda have admitted that ceasing user fees systematically increases utilization rates of health services. “Rwanda’s health insurance scheme expanded access to quality health services for poor people from 7% in 2003 to 91% in 2010. Member states should also address the persistent challenge of inadequate health workforce,” he declared.

Author: Pa Modou Cham