In a major shift, Syrian Kurds ally with Damascus to work side by side along the northern Syrian border    Egypt raises concerns about Ethiopia's GERD with German, Italian and Chinese envoys    Egypt's foreign minister begins tour of Central, Eastern Europe    US, European visa holders can now avail tourist visas to Saudi Arabia    Tunisians vote for president in test of young democracy    Egyptian parliament's budget committee begins discussing new customs law    Egypt's Sisi, Ethiopian PM to meet in Moscow to discuss GERD issue    Delta Life Assurance's assets rise to 1.23bn Egyptian pounds June-end    IMF positive about Egypt's economic trajectory    Vitamins, omega-3 supplements improve autism symptoms    'Alarming upsurge' in measles has devastating impact, WHO warns    France says suspends weapons sales to Turkey    We achieved our objective in second half: Italy coach after Greece win    Formula One: Mercedes driver Bottas wins Japanese Grand Prix    We were not patient: Spain boss Moreno after Norway draw    Saudi Arabia to launch new logistics zone in Jeddah, open to private investors: Statement    Seven people killed, 15 missing after Japan typhoon    UK Labour's Corbyn unlikely to support deal between PM Johnson, EU    10K fans to attend Egypt's friendly against Botswana in Alexandria: EFA    KaramSolar in talks with 5 banks to secure billion-pound solar plants    Egypt to increase daily oil output to70K in FY2020 – minister    Sisi, Ethiopia's PM agree to overcome obstacles in Nile dam talks    Why vacations are important for health    A brief history of the Cairo Opera House    Egypt reaffirms to US congressional delegation cooperation with Nile basin countries    Austrian Handke and Pole Tokarczuk win Nobel prizes for literature    Egypt's Zamalek president hopes 80,000 supporters attend Generation Foot match    Egypt's PM accuses Ethiopia of backtracking Nile water deals    In Photos: Alexandria Film Festival kicks off 35th edition    Farwell to Egyptian comic actor Talaat Zakaria    Egypt's PM, ministers to address parliament in Ethiopia    Barcelona paid €92 million to players in bonuses last season    Eating fish is linked to better sleep, higher IQ    Sisi stresses importance of technological universities, technical education    Egypt's Rowad Modern Engineering renovates 40% of Manial Palace    Grand Egyptian Museum's construction works 93% complete    Court sentences six to death, 41 to lifetime imprisonment violence related case    Trump says he would release Mideast peace plan after Israeli elections    ACWA Power compares 3 bids to supply production units for Luxor power station    What do you know about gold alloying?    NBE announces EGP 2.5m prizes for handball youth teams for their world achievements    Jennifer Lopez evokes Egyptian outrage post her North Coast performance    Al-Sisi honours Egypt's scholars on Science Day    IS claims responsibility for suicide bombing killing 63 in Afghan wedding    Political parties gear up for parliamentary, senate, local elections    Unprecedented Glory: Egypt win Men's U-19 World Handball Championship    12th National Egyptian Theatre Festival fuel up public theatre art scene    Ministry of Environment has a plan for "black clouds season"    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Primary healthcare for all
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 25 - 04 - 2019

On the occasion of World Health Day 2019 on 7 April a joint UN Children's Fund and World Health Organisation (UNICEF-WHO) celebration took place by the River Nile, with young people participating in the occasion by practising sports on a sunny day at Cairo's Mohamed Ali Club.
“Today's event brings together people from different organisations, demonstrating the spirit of solidarity and action that we need in our region to achieve our vision of ‘Health for All by All',” Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean region, said in a speech at the event.
“In the Eastern Mediterranean region, WHO and our member states are promoting family practice-based primary healthcare,” he added, echoing WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom who said that “family practice is the best way to provide integrated health services at the primary healthcare level.”
Primary healthcare (PHC) is essential healthcare based on scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods making universal healthcare accessible to all individuals and families in a community.
World Health Day
For the WHO, PHC is defined by “empowering people and communities, multisectoral policy and action, and essential public health functions at the core of integrated health services.”
Al-Mandhari said that one of the major targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was achieving universal health coverage (UHC). Primary healthcare is a necessary foundation for this, he said, noting that “reaching all people, with priority to the most disadvantaged, is a key element of UHC”.
PHC is essential to address each of these aspects of UHC. “It is important to note that between 80 and 90 per cent of essential health services can be delivered at the PHC level — including countries in an emergency,” Al-Mandhari said.
He announced the launch of a regional initiative to strengthen primary healthcare. “Following the old adage that what gets measured gets done, we plan to initiate standardised and in-depth assessments of PHC systems in the countries of the region. These assessments will be undertaken in partnership with a very important global initiative — the Primary Health Care Monitoring and Improvement Initiative,” he said.
He thanked the US-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting the region in implementing the initiative over the next two years.
Ethan Wong, a programme officer at the foundation, explained that it invests in primary healthcare because this is the front line of health. “A strong PHC can manage more than 80 per cent of healthcare needs. It can save lives as countries with strong PHC see fewer children die before their fifth birthday and more people live longer, healthier lives,” he said.
Wong said that half the world's population still lacks access to a full package of basic health services, most of which can be delivered through primary healthcare. He said that the WHO had reported that for the world to meet the SDGs by 2030 it would require investments in PHC to roughly double.
World Health Day
To improve PHC around the world, “we need better data and leaders who are committed to using it to drive improvements,” Wong said.
“That's why the Gates Foundation, the WHO and the World Bank have come together to launch the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative, a partnership dedicated to improving the global state of PHC, beginning with better measurement,” he said.
According to Al-Mandhari, “World Health Day 2019 puts a special emphasis on equity and solidarity — on raising the bar for health for everyone, everywhere, by addressing gaps in services and leaving no one behind. These are core principles in our new Vision 2023 for public health in the region, which calls for solidarity and action to achieve ‘Health for All by All'.”
UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Geert Cappelaere said in his speech at the event that “PHC remains a key lifeline for millions of families and children in humanitarian settings.”
UNICEF and the WHO must continue to find joint ways of making this investment part and parcel of government budgets, starting with immunisation, he said, adding that Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child could be advanced through UHC in several ways.
“By covering the whole population, governments, as duty-bearers, take steps to guarantee the right to health of children,” Cappelaere said. “If PHC services are not accessed by all children who need them when they need them, then it is not UHC,” he concluded.
Fresh fruit and healthy foods were served as a simple message to the participants of the need to eat healthily and to engage in physical exercise in order to lead a healthy lifestyle.
“With a healthy lifestyle, life becomes more enjoyable,” said Alia Hisham, 18. Hisham said that after going on a healthy diet she had become more sociable and more confident.
Fadi Youssef, 21, agreed with Hisham, adding that “I think all the time about my health.” He does not smoke, and he has engaged in karate and played football since he was five years old.
Older people also have the opportunity to live a healthy life. Faten Shamout, 53, told Al-Ahram Weekly that she had started practising sports 15 years ago. “It is a must to start my day with some aerobic exercises to activate the circulation and help the blood to enter the tissues and joints and make them more flexible,” she said.
For Shamout's mother, Khadija Abbas, 75, sports were a luxury when she was young as she was busy raising her children and health was not a priority. “Now my daughter plays YouTube stretching exercises for the bones and muscles that I can do while sitting,” she said.

Clic here to read the story from its source.