Threats to Life no Longer Local, Says WHO

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Martins Ifijeh
The Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan, has warned the world of the trans-boundary nature of diseases and infections, saying “threats to health of humans are no longer localised.”

Chan, who gave the warning in her address to the ongoing 69th World Health Assembly (WHA in Geneva, said, good health is key to the attainment of any developmental efforts. According to her, health holds a prominent and central place that benefits the entire 2030 Development Agenda.

“In the final analysis, the ultimate objective of all developmental activities, whether concerning the design of urban environments or the provision of modern energy to rural areas, is to sustain lives in good health,” she said.

She therefore called on nations to adopt the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which she describes as the target that underpins all others. “It is the ultimate expression of fairness that leaves no one behind. It also has the best chance of meeting people’s expectations for comprehensive care that does not drive them below poverty line,” she said.

She noted that the current global outbreak of diseases like Ebola, Zika and Yellow Fever has revealed a dramatic resurgence of new threats from emerging and reemerging infectious diseases which the world was not prepared to cope with.

“This underscores the need for nations to work together to address those health issues posing threat to global health in an interconnected world characterised by profound mobility of people and goods.

“In the face of this, I welcome current joint external evaluations that are looking at preparedness and response capacities in several countries. The evaluations need to continue with the utmost urgency as a tool under WHO authority and coordination,” said Chan.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Health Minister, Isaac Adewole, in a statement at the second plenary session last week, noted that in line with the current global direction, the country has articulated a “Change Agenda for Health” geared towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through the Primary Health Care (PHC). This, according to him will guarantee access to effective and qualitative healthcare by about 100 million Nigerians.

Adewole said, “as part of this Change Agenda, Nigeria has also recognised the potential of the health sector to reduce poverty, promote rapid socio-economic development and shared prosperity with its catalytic effect on individual productivity and that relevant process to harness this are being articulated.”