World Health Assembly Takes Off In Geneva
- Written by Oluwafemi Olowookere
71st World Assembly of World Health Organization, WHO, took off Monday in Geneva with a call for health systems strengthening across the Nations.
Addressing the Assembly, the Director General of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, strengthening the health systems everywhere was important to prevention of future outbreaks of Ebola and other diseases.
He noted that although the spread of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo,( DRC) to an urban city is a concern to WHO, it has agreed that it has not reached a global emergency status as the problem is being tackled by WHO and the government of DRC. He said that preventive high risk population targeted vaccination has commenced in DRC and this makes the situation better than the 2014 ebola outbreak.
He promised that the WHO will not settle for a world where the people would have to choose between health and poverty as a result of out of pocket expenses on healthcare.
He said Universal Health Coverage, (UHC) was the only way by which governments can address the health needs of their citizens.
He identified three keys to success in providing healthcare to the people as, first, a stronger WHO, which is more efficient and effective in its operations, with a strong leadership team.
He noted that the WHO needs more funds and thereby called on State actors to support with high quality and flexible funds, with a promise that there would be value for such monies spent by focusing on the real and pressing needs of the people.
According to Dr. Tedros, the second key is political commitment. He said “We are in a time of unprecedented political will” as most heads of government he has spoken with have affirmed their believe in Universal Health Coverage.
He however called on governments to allow the nationals identify the Primary Health Care services needed and not to be determined and handed over to them by someone else.
Thirdly, he identified partnership as the 3rd key to success in achieving its mandate. He said there are many actors on the global health with needed resources, skills and ideas. These actors include Civil Society Organisations, CSO, Non Governmental Organizations, NGOs and the Private Sector.
He said WHO would strengthen partnership with all these actors to achieve their common goal, of providing healthcare to all.
In his message to the Nigerian Delegation to the WHA, the Health Minister, Isaac Adewole noted that the Nigerian government was on the right direction in its efforts to achieve UHC with the strong political will demonstrated by the President Mohammadu Buhari led Administration which has resulted in the launch of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) tagged ‘ huwe ‘ to be financed by the 1% of the country's Consolidated revenue fund, already approved by the National Assembly. Huwe is an Ebira word which means life.
The BHCPF is a fund allocated by NASS to address the Basic Health needs of all Nigerians. This, according to Adewole marks the begining of the journey to UHC in Nigeria
Adewole further expressed the resolve of the Nigerian government to strengthen partnership with WHO and other actors in global health including the Nigerian Private Sector.