HELP Seminar on Health For All

NGOs, CSOs should all strive for Universal
Health Coverage- Prof. D. S. Akram

KARACHI: There is a dire need of immediate attention towards the condition and availabilities of health facilities in faraway areas and especially to the poorest, low-income and marginalized communities. This was stated by speakers at a seminar on “HEALTH FOR ALL” organized by Health Education and Literacy Program (HELP). The purpose of the seminar was to create awareness regarding Universal Health Coverage (UHG) and advocate the stakeholders and Government to adopt Universal Health Coverage (UHG) as their top health priority for all without any discrimination. Mr. Imtiaz Shaikh (Member Provincial Assembly, SINDH) was the Chief Guest.

Professor Dr. D.S. Akram, Honorary Chairperson HELP talked about the Role of Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in UHS. She highlighted that NGOs and CSOs have an important role to strengthen the UHC movement by influencing policy to achieve equity focus agenda. She also emphasized that NGOs can apply pressure on policy makers to achieve accountability and be the voice of communities. She gave examples of innovative methods to explore community based insurance and ways of diverting more public resources for the poor and vulnerable.

Ms. Rehana Memon speaking at seminar on “HEALTH FOR ALL” organized by
Health Education and Literacy Program (HELP)  at  a local hotel in Karachi recently.
Sitting on the dais are Professor Dr. D.S. Akram & Mr. Imtiaz Shaikh.

Health for all Prof. D.S. Akram stated is a goal and it should be goal of our politicians as well because we cannot achieve anything if we do not have any targets to achieve. Health system should be effective, funds provision is must to provide health cover. Universal Health Coverage should relate to community system strengthening and how health services are delivered. Attempts should be made to ensure that all people obtain health cover and government should also increase their share. Community based health insurance should be further explored so that the disadvantaged gets the maximum coverage. As a corporate social responsibility corporate sector should at least spend 2% from their corporate profits on health. Government should divert funds from tertiary care to primary healthcare and also reduce the defense budget.

Mr. Imtiaz Shaikh, congratulated the HELP for organizing the informative seminar. He emphasized that this issue is of paramount importance for the present government. It has always tried to ensure that the health coverage is available for all especially in faraway areas. He assured to raise this issue in the parliament and work with Health & Planning Department exploring the best way to making more public resources available and finding other innovative method to improve health coverage with equity.

Ms. Rehana Memon, Secretary Development, Government of Sindh said that health and education is the top priority of Sindh government. It is time to act fast, we are doing a lot but more is needed. Primary care should be given importance. Investment in public health will reduce the poverty and wellbeing of the people will be improved, she added.

Earlier Dr. Amara Shakeel talked about What is the Universal Health Coverage? It`s importance for poor and marginalized people. She shared the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) background Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and also highlighted the Health Status of Pakistan. Universal Health coverage means that every person, everywhere has access to quality health care without suffering financial hardship.

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