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Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton has called for renewed best efforts to eliminate global inequity in the delivery of health care services.
Speaking at the 34th Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting (CHMM) in London, of which he is chair, the minister said the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic is a clarion call to give urgency to this matter.
“It is significant that we note the impact of inequity on the delivery of health care to our populations. We must note this issue as it affected the supply dynamics for personal protective equipment, critical care machines and vaccines at crucial points in the implementation of pandemic response plans and, at points, created significant challenges in our capacity to respond,” Dr Tufton said in his opening statement on Tuesday, May 17.
“The pandemic, which we are still experiencing, is a call to action for us, in this generation, to move the needle closer to eliminating inequity in the delivery of health care services,” he added.
The CHMM, which runs from May 17 to 19 at the Headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat, is being held under the theme ‘The Road to COVID-19 Recovery: Lessons Learnt for Building Health System Resilience to advance Universal Health Coverage and Global Health Security in the Commonwealth’.
According to Minister Tufton, the theme for the meeting is as timely as it is important, providing an opportunity for reflection on lessons learnt and the application of best practices.
“These reflections will be key, as we plan on how best to strengthen our health systems to be more resilient to advance Universal Health Coverage goals and Health Security.
The COVID-19 pandemic should therefore help us transform with regard to how we should do things differently as we chart our journey towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2030 targets.
Let’s use this opportunity of a heightened political commitment and work together to achieve health-related SDG goals,” he encouraged.
The Minister added that in as challenging as the pandemic has been, there exist opportunities to build back better, including giving priority to human resources for health.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I suggest that our collective action is required to deal with the issues that affect the labour market in the context of Human Resource for Health policies. This is a critical issue that must be confronted, if we desire resilience,” he noted.
“However, it must not be addressed with antagonism, but in a manner that ensures that we do not exacerbate the challenges that we face by depleting resources in small or developing states, but ensure policies that bring about capacity enhancement for all and labour supply that is dynamic, agile and fit for purpose in the 21st Century,” the Minister added.
CHMM 2022 aims, among other things, to facilitate partnerships on a range of health priorities, including the COVID-19 response, addressing Non-Communicable Diseases, cervical cancer, malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, as well as advancing Universal Health Coverage goals.
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