Tedros Ghebreyesus, director general of World Health Organisation (WHO), says universal health coverage is the foundation for health security and prevention of outbreaks.
He said this on Monday during the second plenary meeting of the 71st World Health Assembly holding in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ghebreyesus spoke about the general programme of work (GPW) of the WHO, a “five year strategic plan (that) is an ambitious document that’s designed to focus WHO on delivering impact where it matters most – that’s in countries.”
He said the plan seeks to establish “a clear mission: to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.”
“At the heart of the GPW are the “triple billion” targets that I’m sure you’re all familiar with,” said Ghebreyesus.
“One billion more people benefitting from universal health coverage; one billion more people made safer against health emergencies; one billion more people enjoying better health and well-being.”
“Investments in health systems, based on people-centred primary care, are the key to improving health security and in achieving better health and well-being for all, at all ages.”
Ghebreyesus said countries need to “walk the talk on universal health coverage.”
He commended countries with strong health systems including African country Rwanda which currently has a 69% universal health coverage rate; but added that there is always room for improvement.
“No system is perfect. There is always room for improvement, and there are always new challenges that need new solutions. Gains can easily be lost,” he said.
Nigeria currently has only about 2 per cent universal health coverage in the current NHIS scheme that has been embroiled in controversy with the leadership of the scheme enmeshed in corruption allegations.