Liberia's Deputy Health Minister 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 the Liberian Mission in 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 the theme: “Working together to leave no one behind." The forum was 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. 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, it presented a huge opportunity to rebuild the health system through the Resilient Health Plan. The Liberian Deputy Health Minister, 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 build 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, recommended 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, 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. 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, Ms. Mary Robinson, the Elder/former President of Ireland and Maskazu Hmachi, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, among others. In a related development, Liberia's Minister of Finance and Development Planning, 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, July 19, providing update on Liberia's progress and challenges in the implementation of the SDGs.