Well being Ministers from the Commonwealth have issued a joint assertion on post-COVID restoration efforts following the conclusion of their annual assembly. They agreed to collaborate on a number of key points together with vaccine fairness, constructing resilient well being methods, and bolstering well being safety via harnessing digital expertise.
At this time, well being ministers from the Commonwealth concluded their annual assembly with the adoption of a joint assertion that outlines key priorities in tackling at present’s advanced well being challenges following the COVID-19 pandemic. The assertion commits them to collaborating on bolstering well being safety, vaccine fairness, and growing funding in well being to strengthen the resilience of well being methods and advance Common Well being Protection (UHC) targets.
The dedication follows a two-day digital high-level assembly, convened beneath the chairmanship of Jamaica’s Minister of Well being and Wellness, Hon. Dr Christopher Tufton, the place well being ministers assessed the present well being challenges within the Commonwealth, shared their nationwide and regional experiences and mentioned efficient options and methods to construct stronger, sustainable and resilient well being methods able to dealing with future well being emergencies.
The theme of this yr’s assembly was ‘The Highway to COVID-19 Restoration: “Classes Learnt for Constructing Well being System Resilience to advance UHC and Well being Safety within the Commonwealth’.
In her closing remarks, the Commonwealth Secretary-Basic, The Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland QC, mentioned:
“Now greater than ever, we have to collaborate with unity of goal advocating for post-covid restoration considering and planning constructed on ideas of fairness, equity, inclusivity, and sustainability.
The challenges earlier than us may be resolved if we decide to meaningfully working collectively. That is the only real spirit of the COMMONWEALTH, the assumption that by cooperating and supporting one another we obtain extra, sooner, extra successfully, and effectively.
So, from this assembly, we should discover methods of investing higher sources in Main Well being Care, the cornerstone of Common Well being Protection. We should deal with addressing the foundational major well being care gaps to construct restoration and resilience.
As we glance in direction of [the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting], we may be united within the recognition that additional funding is urgently required to make sure our well being methods can cope with short- and long-term shocks and outbreaks.”
Addressing vaccine inequity throughout the Commonwealth
In addition to being a novel menace, the COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered the inherent weaknesses and inequities of well being methods throughout the Commonwealth, particularly within the distribution of vaccines.
In response to knowledge from the World Well being Group (WHO), globally, greater than 11 billion vaccine doses have been administered. In the meantime, within the Commonwealth, just one.3 billion folks have been absolutely vaccinated and 40 per cent of the inhabitants of the Commonwealth are but to obtain a single dose. And in some African international locations, vaccination charges are lower than 15%.
On this sense, ministers dedicated to working collectively to implement sturdy nationwide responses to beat the present pandemic and put together for and forestall future pandemics. They welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with WHO, which is able to work to help accelerating the tip of the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing vaccine inequity, strengthening digital well being methods, and advancing Common Well being Protection (UHC) and world well being safety.
Ministers additionally recognised the pressing want to extend and speed up COVID-19 vaccination fairness and accessibility and agreed to work collectively to advance the WHO purpose of vaccinating 70 per cent of the inhabitants in every nation by mid-2022.
Talking earlier on the necessity for public well being management, CHMM Chair and Jamaica’s Minister of Well being and Wellness, Hon. Dr Christopher Tufton, mentioned:
“We should admit that COVID-19 has revealed many important gaps in public well being management throughout totally different scales: this being world, regional, or nationwide. These gaps have been particularly obvious in issues associated to vaccination, vaccine nationalism and the failure of multilateralism, normally.
Fairness in well being care is a worldwide improvement crucial. None of us on this 54 member-state Commonwealth can really feel a way of safety and security if different international locations are being left behind. If international locations are left behind, as we’ve seen with COVID-19, there may be more likely to be a delay in restoration for all international locations. This situation would require daring management and visionary, purposeful motion to be able to wrestle with the instinctive self-preserving actions of the few.”
Constructing resilient well being methods and advancing UHC targets
Recognising that well being system resilience is a necessary pillar to help progress in direction of UHC and well being safety, there was consensus in strongly encouraging governments to urgently improve funding in well being, together with human resourcing, to strengthen the resilience of well being methods and the COVID-19 pandemic response and restoration plans.
They additional acknowledge the work at present being undertaken in worldwide fora to strengthen world well being structure, specifically, the work on prevention and response of future pandemics. By this, Ministers acknowledged that there can be a stronger and extra inclusive well being emergency preparedness, response, and resilience structure.
In addition they reaffirmed their dedication to work collectively to take care of the pre-COVID-19 pandemic positive factors associated to sexual and reproductive well being providers (SRHS), HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and different vector-borne ailments, poliomyelitis, and Uncared for Tropical Ailments (NTDs).
On the subject of cervical most cancers elimination, ministers reaffirmed their dedication to taking vital steps to make sure that by 2025 all women within the Commonwealth may have entry to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine by age 13.
On analysis, innovation and digital expertise, ministers acknowledged the truth that digital expertise instruments are a key enabler to advancing Main Well being Care providers and that there’s a chance to additional advance digital well being capability within the Commonwealth. To that finish, ministers agreed to discover how Commonwealth international locations can foster stronger cooperation and alternate information on points similar to digital well being governance, interoperability and digital applied sciences.
Waiting for CHOGM
The thirty fourth Commonwealth Well being Ministers Assembly occurred at a vital time: on the eve of the seventy fifth World Well being Meeting and simply 4 weeks away from the twice-postponed Commonwealth Heads of Authorities Assembly (CHOGM) in Kigali.
Along with the ministerial assertion, ministers put ahead a set of key suggestions for dialogue at CHOGM. Ministers additionally famous the launch of the Commonwealth World Malaria Report, which reveals that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commonwealth is just not on observe to halve both malaria instances and/or deaths by the tip of 2023, and thus urged leaders to reaffirm their dedication in direction of that purpose, and ending the epidemic of malaria by 2030, consistent with world and regional commitments. To that finish, the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Uncared for Tropical Ailments will happen on 23 June 2022 on the side-lines of CHOGM.
Along with well being ministers, the assembly included participation by representatives from Commonwealth well being professionals, civil society and improvement companions, in addition to worldwide and regional organisations such because the World Well being Group, Africa CDC, The World Fund and observers.
Ministers will reconvene in 2023 for the subsequent Commonwealth Well being Ministers Assembly.
Notes to Editors
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