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Stakeholders discuss implementation of new health policy

Nov 24, 2015, 10:30 AM | Article By: Isatou Senghore-Njie

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently organised a two-day training workshop on the implementation of Health in All Policies (HiAPs).

The workshop, held at the National Malaria Control Programme office in Kanifing, was attended by representatives of relevant institutions and departments from the public and private sectors.

The forum was designed to build capacity of participants to promote the implementation and evaluation of HiAPs and encourage engagement and collaboration across all sectors.

It was also aimed at facilitating the exchange of experiences and lessons learned in the promotion of regional and global collaboration on HiAPs.

Modou Njai, director of the Health Promotion and Education Unit under the Ministry of Health, said HiAPs is an approach to public policies, across sectors, which systematically takes into account the health implications of decisions.

He said the new policy is designed to improve accountability of policymakers for health impacts at all levels of policymaking.It also includes an emphasis on the consequences of public policies on health systems, determinants of health and well-being.

Mr Njai said HiAPs is a practical response to challenges in the implementation of health promotion interventions, and provides a framework for a regulation that rebalances the distortion, and transparently addresses conflicts of interest among sectors.

“Health in All Policies can also harness the potential of the private sector to contribute to public health outcomes within such a set of rules,” he said.“It is a constituent part of countries contribution to achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and they must remain a key consideration in the drafting of the post 2015 agenda.”

Mr Njai said the successful implementation of HiAPs approach calls for stronger partnership and collaboration intra and inter sectoral among government institutions, NGOs, the private sector and communities.

Momodou Ceesay, health economist at WHO, said the promotion of health equity is essential to sustainable development and better quality of life and well-being for all.

“We recognise that governments have a responsibility for the health of their peoples which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures,” he said.

Mr Ceesay said the HiAPs concept, together with inter-sectoral cooperation and action, is a promising approach to enhance accountability in other sectors for health, and for more inclusive and productive societies.

He said the WHO will continue to support the Gambia government’s efforts to put in place the right policy mix to achieve the development aspirations of the people.

Lamin Queen Jammeh, governor of the North Bank Region, expressed gratitude and thanked the organisers for coming up with “such a programme to better the lives of the citizenry”.