Minister Jean-Paul Adam has highlighted Seychelles’ experiences towards ensuring domestic financing for sustainable health security at the Second WHO Africa Health Forum under the theme ‘Achieving Universal Health Coverage and Health Security: The Africa we want to see’ which is being held in Praia, Cabo Verde.
The Minister was keynote speaker in a panel to discuss the means by which African countries can ensure adequate resources to build resilience and preparedness in the face of outbreaks and epidemics.
The Minister underlined the political commitment that is necessary towards universal health coverage with a focus on primary care as the foundations of building long term health security.
The debate took place after WHO had released a report showing the productivity loss in Africa from lack of access to appropriate health care and which showed Seychelles to be one of the top performers in terms of domestic resource mobilization and providing access to care.
The report however shows overall an under investment in the health sector, and Minister Adam used his intervention to highlight that health security had to be built on universal access to primary care.
He emphasized the long term economic benefits of investing in universal health care and the importance of this for building resilience and capacity to respond in emergencies.
His intervention also focused on the vulnerabilities of African Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and their challenges linked to lack of economies of scale. He illustrated that climate change brought a ‘new normal’ for health preparedness of ‘constant mobilization’ due to the increase in infectious and vector borne diseases caused by changing weather patterns. The Human Resource constraints of African SIDS were also underlined.
The Minister flagged five key areas for consideration to ensure sustainable domestic mobilization of resources. Firstly the need for a strong political commitment towards financing universal access to primary care which eventually leads to huge economic benefits for the country. Secondly the need to reinforce the preparedness of individual countries to address threats of epidemics and thirdly to build capacity for surveillance and standardization at regional level. Fourthly the Minister called for means to reduce costs such as through pooled procurement mechanisms that can help SIDS achieve economies of scale and finally means for mobilizing additional finances domestically whether through taxes such as a sugar tax or insurance mechanisms or partnerships with the private sector.
During the conference the Minister has extensive discussions with his counterpart from Cabo Verde, H.E Dr. Arlindo Nascimento do Rosario and the Regional Director of WHO Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.
The Minister was accompanied in Cabo Verde by Dr. Susan Fock Tave, Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health.
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