On Friday 5 April at from 2 pm, the Ministry of Health and Population in collaboration with the United Nations (WHO, UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNFPA and RCO) in Malawi commemorated World Health Day under the theme Universal Health Coverage: everyone, everywhere, every time. The guest of honor was Minister for Health, Atupele Muluzi, who was represented by Dr Charles Mwansambo the Chief of Health Services.
The event started with a long walk led by the Guest of Honor and it was orchestrated by the Malawi Defense Force Brass Band. The starting point was the Parliament Building roundabout and congregation proceeded through presidential way up to the Ministry of Health and Population headquarters car park in Capital Hill where the main event took place.
In his speech Dr. Mwansambo informed the enthusiastic gathering that the Ministry of Health and population was geared towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.
“I would like to put it on record that the government is pledging its commitment to ensure that no person fails to access any health service that he or she needs everywhere and at any time,” the Chief of Health Services said.
Every year on 7 April member states of the United Nation such as Malawi commemorate World Health Day. This day is a major opportunity for governments to draw nationwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health.
This year Malawi decided to commemorate the day on 5 April by holding this even in collaboration with United Nations, Civil Society Organization, Non-Governmental Organization and many other development partners.
In her speech before, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malawi informed the audience that nowadays the world is facing new and growing challenges that have profound implications for health.
“The rising inequalities, intense demographic and epidemiological changes, increased migratory flows, the depletion of natural resources, the adverse impacts of environmental degradation, and the prospect of irreversible climate change are having profound impact on health. This means that we need health and non-health sectors be active and collaborate with each other.
“More importantly the participation and inclusion of Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations in these efforts is very important since they play a key role in health and development at the village and community level where the interventions need to be delivered,” the UN Resident Coordinator for Malawi said.
Dr. Fabian Ndenzako in his remarks called on to all stakeholders in health to accelerate their support to the government by realigning services and considering strategic shifts to achieve Universal Health Coverage.
“This involves re-assessing the essential services we offer to ensure they are designed for everyone, everywhere and every time, and then introducing innovative approaches to deliver these services. He further highlighted that health is a political choice; we need to ensure that it is considered in all government policies and in all sectors and it is funded adequately,” Dr. Ndenzako retaliated.
In 2018 the WHO flagship publication on “State of Health in the WHO African Region” the document provided a cross-cutting analysis of the health status, services and systems of individual African countries in the context of Universal Health Coverage and other health-related Sustainable Development Goal targets. It identified low funding for health, low availability of services and under-investment in the health workforce.
Achieving UHC is one of the targets the nations of the world set when adopting the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. Countries that progress towards UHC will make progress towards the other health-related targets, and towards the other goals.
Good health allows children to learn and adults to earn, helps people escape from poverty, and provides the basis for long-term economic development. Primary health care is the most efficient and cost-effective way to achieve universal health coverage around the world.