By: Perry B. Zordyu

Monrovia-April-10-TNR:The World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health have commemorated World Health Day under the theme, “My Health, My Right,with a call for ensuring Health Equity and narrowing the gaps in accessing healthcare.

This year’s celebration resonates with the existing inequities to accessing healthcare globally, but also in the least developed countries, including Liberia, as well as marginalized and hard-to-reach communities that suffer disproportionately.

Speaking during the 75th World Health Day celebration, World Health Organization Country Representative, Dr. Clement Peter said in order to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), no one individual should be left behind.

He added that limited access to health information, lifesaving health care services, essential medicines and health commodities, as well as weak health infrastructure have profound impact on the quality ofhealthcare and its outcomes.

The WHO Country Representative asserted that the theme of this years’ World Health Day, “My Health, My Right,” encourages us to reduce inequity and barriers affecting access to health services wherever and whenever people need them.

Dr. Peter stressed that the disparity in access to health care affects and impacts heavily on children, adolescents, and women especially pregnant women. He added that many countries, including Liberia have enshrined the right to health in their constitutions.

According to him, narrowing the inequity barriers is a step in the right direction to improve health and wellbeing of every citizen something he believes a bold approach will help to reduce the unacceptable and preventable illnesses and deaths that often affect children and women.

The WHO Country Representative maintained that the country continues to be challenged among others, with weak infrastructure affecting access in rural communities, weak health system, inadequate investment to the health sector, limited community insurance scheme.

Dr. Clement Peter furthered that health is not merely the absence of disease but a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Dr. Clement, however, said achieving health equity requires solid commitment in addressing the underlying social determinants of health, including poverty, inequality, infrastructure, education, and water and sanitation.

He lauded the Government of Liberia for the increasing budget allocation to health, making it a priority in the ARREST agenda said it has also underscored the importance of partnership, solidarity and collaboration in addressing global health challenges.

At the same time, Health Minister Dr. Louise Kpotosaid health is a fundamental human rights globally. Minister Kpoto said the world is under threat, noting that Liberia has undergone a prolonged period of challenges emanating from instability, which risks citizens the right to health and well-being.

The Health Minister furthered that while it is true that the Ministry of Health has the full responsibility to treat, provide healthcare services, and achievebetter health for citizens, it requires a collective multisectorial approach.

She said in order to realize the aspirations of the right to health, strong partnership and solidarity are critical to the health system to ensure the sustainability of medical equipment, medical services, and all that is needed.

Minister Kpoto promised to collaborate with all to enhance an integrated healthcare guide void of sentiments to put an end to inequity and barriers of maternal neonatal mortality across the country.

Meanwhile, Senate Health Committee Chair, DabahVarpilah affirmed that health is a universal human rights adding that Liberia as a country stand at a critical juncture towards improving healthcare outcome especially in maternal and newborn health.

Senator Varpilah said Liberia continues to grabble in healthcare with deaths and disability among pregnant women and newborns.

The Grand Cape Mount County Senator maintained that it underscores an urgent need for considering action and collaborative efforts to address said challenges.

Senator Dabah Varpilah however pledged the Senate Health Committee’s commitment in working with the Ministry of Health as well as line-ministries and agencies to change the horrible number of women and girls who face maternal neonatal mortality.

She added that domestic initiative will be paramount under her watch as Chairperson on the Senate Committee on Health.

Also speaking, the First Lady of the Republic of Liberia Kartumu Boakai has echoed the need to prevent maternal neonatal mortality in women and girls.

Madam Boakai noted that healthcare equality is not a solitary battle waged in distant lands but rather a global crusade that requires collective strength, wisdom, and empathy. She noted that the tide against despair in such a fight will usher in an era of health and prosperity for all.

The First Lady of Liberia at the same time, stressed that it is curial to embark on a crusade against the preventable tragedies that befall mothers and infants stating that the shadow of maternal and neonatal mortality looms large in Liberia with mothers perishing at a staggering rate of 742 per 100,000 live births and our newborns at 37 per 1,000.

The program was held recently at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, which brought together stakeholders, students, and was held under the theme, “My Health, My Right.

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