President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has emphasized the prioritization of health and human security as critical to the achievement of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
She also stressed that by adopting universal health coverage, the world would have positioned its energies towards combating various health-related challenges such as infectious diseases; re-echoing the call that the rapid response to strengthening the global health systems is crucial to confronting potential pandemics.
A dispatch from New York, says the President spoke at a high-level meeting on “The Path Towards Universal Health Coverage: The Promotion of Equitable Global Health and Human Security in the Post-2015 Development Era,” on Monday, September 28, 2015.
The event, which was held on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly, was co-sponsored by Japan, France, Senegal, Thailand, the World Health Organization and the Global Fund.
She said human progress is often measured in terms of their health as basic human security; which she says thrives alongside trappings of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
President Sirleaf emphasized the need for strategic pooled financing instruments backed by private partnership, which according to her, would play a major role in translating global goals into investment within the context of global health.
“This makes it exceedingly imperative for global health leaders to adapt to the transitioning landscape that is critical to determining the unprecedented achievements in global health following the adoption of the SDGs,” the Liberian leader observed.
Liberia’s deputy minister for public health emergencies and head of the country’s incident management system (IMS), Tolbert Nyenswah, who accompanied President Sirleaf to the meeting, indicated that prior to the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease, significant progress had been made in the health sector as evidenced by an increase in the life expectancy of Liberians by 20 years.
He said the period also witnessed a dramatic reduction of under-five mortality and the prevalence of malaria, among others. Deputy Minister Nyenswah described the adoption of the SDGs as a milestone, and named key actions of universal health coverage as reduced direct payment out of pocket, mandatory pre-payment, and the use of general government revenue to cover those who cannot afford to pay.
Nyenswah informed the global community that Liberia has effectively beaten the Ebola virus disease twice and the country has the capacity to deal with any resurgence. He, however, recommended that the universal health coverage be given much development assistance in both the short and medium-term, especially for fragile economies and health systems.
Meanwhile, the WHO’s Executive Director, Dr. Margaret Chan, has praised Minister Nyenswah and the country’s incident management team for the effective and efficient manner in which they managed the Ebola crisis in Liberia. She urged the international community to support Liberia’s recovery process in the context of universal health coverage.
The dispatch noted that the event was addressed by scores of other world leaders, including Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Shinzo Abe; Senegal’s President, Mr. Macky Sall; Executive Director of the WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan; and UNICEF’s Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehi, among others.