April 9, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The World Health Organization is attempting to get one billion people to benefit from quality health services and financial protection by 2023, in order to reach Sustainable Development Goal target 3.8 on achieving universal health coverage by 2030.
According to the Health System Specialist of WHO Sierra Leone office, Dr. Selassi D’almeide, progress towards health-related and broader development goals can only be possible by providing access to essential quality care protection from financial hardship to everyone, everywhere.
He was reading a message from the WHO Regional Director yesterday during a presser hosted in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to commemorate this year’s World Health Day on 7 April, 2019 on the theme: “Universal health coverage : everyone, everywhere , every time”.
He stated that in Africa, the recurrence of major public health events, citing over 100 in 2018, means that there can be no health security without universal health coverage.
“Health systems strengthening for universal health coverage is one of the key instruments for the change offered by the 2030 agenda, which entails integration of good stewardship, adequate financing, qualified and motivated health workforce, access to quality medicines and health products, among others,” he said.
He noted that the regional director was accelerating support to countries to realign their services and consider strategic shifts to achieve universal health coverage and also helping to build the evidence base around what works and what does not work in developing and applying UHC principles by documenting practices to implement the core interventions.
He added that UHC is not a one-size fits-all approach and that each country’s path was unique and different, which is why they have developed a framework of actions to assist countries to select options which best suits their context.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer in charge of Public Health, Rev. Dr. Thomas T. Samba, said the day reminds everyone on the day that WHO was given the mandate to spearhead the health of populations at the global level.
He said the celebration over the past 50years has brought to light very important health issues, citing mental health, maternal and child health and climate change.
“Health must be passive as a human rights and therefore the issue of ensuring that anyone have access to equitable quality health services has evidently permeated the global stage,” he said and added that universal health coverage means that everyone have access to the quality health services they need without incurring financial hardship.