The World Health Organisation says COVID-19 has provided countries with weak health financing systems an opportunity for reset.
WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, disclosed this in a media briefing to mark this year’s Universal Health Coverage Day on Friday.
Ghebreyesus said, “Many governments have responded to the pandemic with exceptional budget allocations for their health systems, and even larger allocations for economic stabilization and social protection.
“At the same time, COVID-19 has triggered a deep global economic crisis that could have a long-lasting impact on health financing.
“Public revenues are declining, forcing many countries to take on additional debt, which will impact lower-income countries whose economies were vulnerable before COVID-19 struck.
“The pandemic has demonstrated that health is not a luxury; it is the foundation of social, economic and political stability.
“Indeed, today’s report highlights that the COVID-19 crisis provides an opportunity for a ‘reset’ in countries with weak health financing systems.”
According to him, the WHO will be launching a new report that provides the first analysis of how global health spending has changed during 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The report warns that higher debt servicing could make it more difficult to maintain public spending on health.
“But this is precisely the moment for investing in health”, he added.
The WHO chief further said, “This week, WHO is launching two initiatives to support and rapidly accelerate countries’ journey towards universal health coverage.
“The first is a global programme to strengthen primary health care, better equipping countries to prevent and respond to emergencies of all kinds, from the personal crisis of a heart attack to an outbreak of a new and deadly virus.
“The second is a new “UHC Compendium” designed to help countries develop the packages of services they need to meet their people’s health needs.
“To draw more attention to universal health coverage, we have also made it one of the main categories in the second WHO Health for All Film Festival.
“We are inviting all film makers, whether professional or amateur, to submit short films focussing on access to quality care for any health need, by the 30th of January 2021.
“Several hundred of films have already been submitted.
“The two other categories for the festival are health emergencies, in which we invite short films about COVID-19 and other humanitarian crises; and better health and well-being, in which we invite films about climate change, pollution, sanitation, nutrition, gender issues and more.”
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