Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere - WHO Maldives marks World Health Day 2018
4th April 2018: A unique celebration to mark World Health Day 2018 and WHO’s 70th Anniversary was officiated by WHO Maldives. To highlight the theme of ‘Universal Health Coverage’, the event was held in a “covered” tent and was graced with the presence of Chief Guest His Excellency Minister of Health Honorable Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, Her Excellency Minister of Gender and Family Honorable Zenysha Shaheed Zaki, Ambassadors, Diplomats, UN Agencies, Partnering Companies and NGOS.
Every year, the WHO marks the World Health Day on 7th April 2018. This year, the occasion came forth somewhat earlier than usual for the Maldives, but nothing less colorful, especially with the combined celebration of WHO’s 70th Global Anniversary. The celebration was commenced with the remarks by WHO Representative Dr Arvind Mathur. “On our 70th anniversary year, WHO is calling World Leaders to live upto their pledges when they signed Sustainable Development Goals and commit to all the people and communities receive the quality health services, where and when they need without suffering financial hardship.” said Dr Mathur, “The reality is half of the world’s people are unable to obtain essential health services. Universal Health Coverage is achievable and making health services truly universal requires a shift FROM designing health systems around diseases, TO health services around and for it’s people.”
“And that is how Maldives has made remarkable progress in UHC. With a functional health center at every island manned by a doctor, nurses and public health workers with state run pharmacies, dispensing quality assured medicine and these services covered under the health insurance scheme.” Dr Mathur commended. “Our reception is a celebration of several public health successes of Maldives where WHO continues to collaborate with, but also an indication of “Change”- responding to the evolving world in a befitting manner of notionally conveying the principles of inclusiveness, uniformity, and being under one roof- the umbrella of UHC.” The WHO Representative’s Remarks also comprised of the World Health Day video message by Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh.
In his speech, His Excellency Minister of Health Honorable Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim further reiterated the government’s commitment to expand quality health services to reach everyone, everywhere. “Governments spending on health has increased to a tremendous 130%. This has allowed us to build much needed infrastructure nationwide and also introduce new health care services. WHO is our closest and strongest partner. Seven decades of WHO-Maldives partnership in health has helped a lot to sustain these successes.”
During the event, Honorable Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim and Honorable Zenysha Shaheed Zaki officially e-launched the “Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere” video, which covers all aspects of UHC in the Maldives. They also cut a healthy fruit ‘cake’ to commemorate WHO’s 70th Anniversary, together with the WHO Country Office team.
To highlight inclusivity and partnership of 'health beyond health sector’, Ms Zihnath Hassan, the Government-appointed Goodwill Ambassador for People with Special Needs reflected on her role, then went on to introduce four students with special abilities, representing the Jewels Centre (SEN Class) of Imaaduddin Government School. Amongst the performers were three children with Down Syndrome Mohamed Jumaan, an artist and guitarist sharing the stage with fellow vocalists Mohamed Raaif Shareef and Ahzam Hussain Rasheed. Next was Lumaiha Aadil, a prize-winning performer with Autism whom sang a heartfelt melody for the audience.
To recommit everyone towards Universal Health Coverage, invitees were asked to take part in an activity to paste stickers in the WHO at 70 pledge board placed at the entrance. The stickers were 70 commitment messages from all of WHO Maldives’s priority areas to highlight WHO’s 70 years.
Maldives is one of the most geographically dispersed island nations in the world, and has been working for decades to establish a people-centered health care system to ensure every citizen in the country, receives equal access to quality assured medical care, regardless of their location and financial standing. This World Health Day, with the continuous support from WHO, Maldives is taking on new challenges to ensure #HealthForAll.