Ministers Speech at the World Health Day Function “Universal Health Coverage”- Health for All

    Tuesday, April 16, 2019

    WHO representative to Maldives Dr Arvind Mathur

    Your Excellencies, Partners from UN agencies, NGOs, Health sectors

    Distinguished guests

    Ladies and gentlemen

    It is indeed a pleasure for me to be in the ceremony to celebrate the World Health Day Under the theme “Universal Health Coverage” and Health For All.

    I would like to take this opportunity to extend my deepest appreciation for all our partners,

    WHO, and other UN agencies, our bilateral partners, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations that work continuously to translate our policies into reality- And have contributed towards achieving our health goals in the Maldives.

    “Health for all” and “Primary Healthcare” is indeed one of the key strategic areas under the government’s manifesto, while reducing inequities in access to healthcare services and access to quality health services and medicines is also a core area outlined in the Health Master Plan 2016-2025. This reduction of inequities can only happen through the achievement of goals related to universal health coverage.

    The Maldives has achieved crucial milestones in the health sector that we see today. This is a result of health being placed at the center of the developmental agenda in the Maldives. The unwavering commitment of health professionals, over many years, working on disease prevention, health promotion and in bringing necessary reform to the health sector. Many communicable diseases including Measles, Filaria, Malaria, Maternal, and neonatal Tetanus have been eliminated or controlled in Maldives and emphasis gave more to the control of noncommunicable diseases.

    As we acknowledge the progress that has been made in the country in terms of healthcare, a lot remains to be done. The Maldives is currently facing huge challenges from the growing burden of non-communicable diseases which accounts for over 81% of total deaths in the country. We need to invest in prevention, cost-effective interventions and revitalize primary healthcare. There is a need to shift towards digital health, public health innovations and health systems that suit well with island nations.

    To address UHC, health beyond health is necessary and an area that is often overlooked. Health and wellbeing become an overarching shared responsibility of multiple sectors, and it is only by working together through collaborative policy approaches that we would be able to achieve Health for All.