Liberia’s Health Official Urges UN To Prioritize Universal Health Coverage

Liberia’s Deputy Minister of Health, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah
Liberia’s Deputy Minister of Health, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah

New York-18th July 2016, Liberia’s Deputy Minister of Health, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah has called on the global community to prioritize the implementation of the Universal Health Coverage and ensure its achievement as outlined in the 2030 Development Agenda. He said such effort is aimed at transforming the lives of millions of less privileged people globally.

 According to a dispatch from New York, Minister Nyenswah made the remark when he served as one of the key panelists at the High-level Political Forum Side Event under a theme: Working together to leave no one behind”, hosted by the Governments of France, Japan, Thailand and the International Health Partnership for the Universal Health Coverage 2030 held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Liberia's Minister of Finance for Economic Planning and Development
Liberia’s Minister of Finance for Economic Planning and Development

Deputy Minister  Nyenswah while expressing appreciation to the organizers of the event , noted  that  it is  an indisputable fact that promoting “Equitable  Global Health and Human Security,  implementation of UHC is important”, and as such, no effort should be spared toward its actualization.

Speaking further, Minister Nyenswah informed the audience that although the Ebola Virus Disease exposed many weaknesses in the health system of Liberia but there is huge opportunity to rebuild the health system through the Resilient Health Plan.

The Liberia’s Deputy of   Minister of Health who also led the Incident Management Team in the fight against the unprecedented Ebola crisis in the country, pointed out that sufficient and sustained investment both at domestic and international levels was required as witnessed during the Ebola crisis to rebuild a resilient health system.

” Ebola helped to  mobilize political commitment to health and yielded huge international resources, however, post-Ebola alignment of resources aimed at adherence to the IHP+ principles and behaviors, health system and Universal Health Coverage, need to be prioritized”.

Minster Nyenswah therefore, recommends a synergy between domestic resource mobilization and international assistance which according to him, are key towards achieving Universal Health Coverage. He however, explained that Development assistance should aim at strengthening public financial management systems and financing capacities for equitable, efficient revenue generation as well as widespread pooling and strategic purchasing.

On challenges and the need to effectively harmonize and coordinate the international response on crisis such as Ebola and other global health challenges,  Minister Nyenswah advised against fragmentation of efforts and underscored the importance of International Health Partnership( IHP),   toward the achievement of the Universal Health Coverage,(UHC), especially in the areas of coordination, harmonization as well strengthening accountability for  desired results.

Minister Kamara stressing the importance of addressing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs)
Minister Kamara stressing the importance of addressing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs)

At the same time, Minister Nyenswah intimated that the Government of Liberia is currently drafting a country compact which according to him,  is modeled on the IPH+ approach, designed to negotiate and arrive at an agreement with  parameters for engagement with development partners and mutual responsibilities, emphasizing ” IHP+ provides an impetus for shifting behaviors and empowering countries to steward the sector”

“We need this now more than ever, to harness this window of political momentum and opportunity in the wake of Post-Ebola Recovery”. He concluded.

Also speaking in support of the International Health Partnership and Universal Health Coverage 2030, included Dr. Natela Manabde, Executive Director of World Health Organization, H. E. Ms. Mary Robinson, the Elders/Former President of Ireland and H. E. Maskazu Hmachi Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, among others.

In a related development, Liberia’s Minister of Finance for Economic Planning and Development, Honorable Boima Kamara, who is also attending the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, made interventions at two side events organized by the Governments of Norway and the Netherlands respectively. Minister Kamara stressed the importance of addressing the implementation of the  Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs),taking into account each country’s context, and  the  need for partnership in achieving the desired goals.

Meanwhile, Minister Kamara is expected to participate in the General Debate on the implementation of the SDGs  on Tuesday, 19th of July 2016, providing update  on Liberia’s progress and   challenges in the implementation of the SDGs.

Written by: Abu Kamara

Minister Counselor for Press and Public Affairs

Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations

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About Cholo Brooks 15568 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.