Primary Health Care Here Celebrated

On April 7 the World Health Organiza­tion (WHO) and the Fiji Ministry of Health & Medical Services came to­gether to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of WHO and the 40th Anniversary
10 Apr 2018 10:00
Primary Health Care Here Celebrated

On April 7 the World Health Organiza­tion (WHO) and the Fiji Ministry of Health & Medical Services came to­gether to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of WHO and the 40th Anniversary of Primary Health Care (PHC) in Fiji.

These special events mark a time for both organisations to recommit to their mutual goal of advocating for Universal Health Coverage – Health for All – Everyone. Eve­rywhere.

April 7, 2018 marks a special date for the WHO as 70 years ago the global community came together to establish the organisation, the United Nations agency founded on the principle that health is a right for all.

In celebration of this anniversary, WHO calls on the global community to recommit to the basic principle that access to essential health care is a human right for all.

Achieving universal health coverage means that everyone can access the health services they need, where and when they need them, without financial hardship.

Fiji has long since committed to achieving this goal, as this year Fiji celebrates the 40th anniversary of its adoption of the Alma Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care.

Strengthening primary health care is the means to achieving Universal Health Cover­age.This commitment is deeply enshrined under Section 38 of the Fijian Constitution (2013), for which the State must take reason­able measures within available resources to achieve the progressive realisation of the right of every Fijian to:

q Health and to the conditions and facili­ties necessary for good health

q Health services, including reproductive health

Dr Corinne Capuano, WHO Director of Pa­cific Technical Support and Representative for the South Pacific, commends Fiji: “Fiji puts special emphasis on Primary Health Care during this year’s celebration, because we believe that reinvigorating primary health care is for Fiji and the Pacific Island countries the way forward to achieving uni­versal health coverage’.

What to do better

Universal health coverage is beneficial and already happening. But we can do more and better.

At least half the world’s people don’t re­ceive the essential health services they need. About 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty, (less than $1.90 a day) because of payments for health services.

As a result, children have to abandon school and dreams of a career so tuition money can pay a family member’s medical bills.

Others leave jobs – or cannot get jobs – be­cause they have to take care of a sick family member. Over 800 million people (almost 12 per cent of the world’s population) spend at least 10 percent of their household budgets on health expenses for themselves, a sick child or other family members.

On World Health Day, the World Health Organisation is calling on world leaders to live up to their commitments and to action on them.

Getting it right

Countries approaching universal health coverage need to get it right at the lowest and most accessible level to serves the majority of Fijians.

Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar said: “Good primary health care that integrates the delivery of essential pub­lic health and clinical services at both the facility and community levels should be the triggering point for change.’’

“In some Pacific Islands, if the situation doesn’t improve, one in three 30-year-olds will die before their 70th birthday from non-communicable diseases such as a heart at­tack, stroke, diabetes or cancer.

“To maximise their chances of living long, productive lives, we need to provide access to services that are effective in preventing and managing these diseases.

“We need care that promotes health and prevents sickness. We also need better care for people who already have health condi­tions.

“Comprehensive care must be available closer to people’s homes, co-ordinated by health-care teams to provide both conveni­ence and the opportunity to build enduring and trusting relationships with the people and the communities they serve.

Dr Capuano said: “WHO is committed to support Fiji and other Pacific Islands in their goal to ensure th0at all Pacific Island­ers have access to essential health care, re­gardless of whether they are based in one of the Pacific’s urban centres or on a remote outer island.’’

In celebration of this special event, and to inspire others to join the conversation, the ministry is launching a series of debates and events to strengthen awareness and discuss ideas on how to achieve primary health care.


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