WHO calls for Universal Health Coverage in Lebanon
April 7, 2019 | 6:43 PM
by Times News Service

WHO/Beirut: Universal Health Coverage (UHC) should be extended to everyone in Lebanon, the WHO and the country's Ministry of Public Health stated on World Health Day.

Calling on all individuals and communities in Lebanon to advocate for their right to healthcare, the two entities stated that all people have a right to access quality health services they need, when and where they need them without facing financial hardship.

Dr Iman Shankiti, WHO Representative in Lebanon, said, "Despite all challenges, the political will and commitment of Lebanon towards achieving UHC has been impressive. Primary health care will help us reach Health for All and build a more sustainable and resilient Lebanese health care system. WHO will continue to support the Ministry of Public health in its journey to reach UHC.

Dr Jamil Jabak, Minister of Health, added, “We are working with all stakeholders and communities and devoted to providing everyone across Lebanon with the health services they need. Together we can achieve Health for All.”

This year's World Health Day was organised under the theme 'Universal Health Coverage'.

WHO has stated that UHC is a key component of sustainable development, poverty reduction, and addressing inequities in society. UHC aims to ensure access to quality people-centred health services for all, from promotion and prevention to treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care. Improved health system management, access to essential medicines and technologies, and sufficient and skilled health workforce are all pillars of UHC.

Last year, on the 40th anniversary of the landmark Declaration of Alma-Ata on “Health for All,” Lebanon signed the Declaration of Astana, reaffirming that primary health care is the most

cost-effective and equitable way to deliver health services and help Lebanon reach UHC.

Achieving UHC is a major goal for Lebanon’s National Health Strategy. Lebanon decreased out of pocket payments on health from 60% in 1998 to 32% in 2015. A network of 220 primary health care centres is currently spread across Lebanon and is accessible to the whole population. Around 25,000 persons are benefiting from pre-paid packages of health care services that include basic minimum health services – maternal and child health, chronic diseases management, mental health, and others.

Mr Philippe Lazzarini, UN Resident Coordinator for Lebanon, said, “Let us all join hands to make UHC a reality for Lebanon. This can only be achieved and sustained by collective multi-stakeholder efforts, towards Lebanon with Health for All”.

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