WHO should be at the forefront of reform - Kamwi

26 May 2014 16:00pm
WINDHOEK, 26 MAY (NAMPA) – The Minister of Health and Social Services says the World Health Organisation (WHO) must adapt to the rapid developments occurring in African countries in readiness to face the health challenges of the 21st Century with the appropriate skills and technologies.
Dr Richard Kamwi said this as he was speaking on behalf of the African Group on the “WHO progress report on the Reform Implementation Plan” during the 67th Session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday.
In the statement, availed to Nampa at the weekend, Kamwi said the African Region believes it is imperative that countries are active participants in the reform process, and that their voices are heard.
“Reform must not be solely Geneva-based. Due regard should also be afforded to a parallel bottom-up process and vice-versa with Member States in the driver’s seat. Regional committees and Member States must be actively engaged in the entire reform process instead of being regarded as passive recipients of information and observers of progress,” he said.
The Health Minister noted that it is evident that not all countries are currently at the same development stage, nor are they expected to develop at the same rate.
“The ‘one size fits all’ mantra is clearly not appropriate. Careful consideration must, therefore, be given on how reforms can yield benefits to all Member States,” said Kamwi.
The African Region suggested that WHO country offices must be the centre point for the reform process, and that such offices must be equipped with the appropriate structure, staff and finances to deliver their desired outcome.
In combating epidemics and non-communicable diseases, Kamwi said the role of the World Health Organisation must extend beyond policy formulation, norms setting and technical support to encompass implementation as well.
“While it is true that WHO must continue to provide evidence-based policy and strategic guidance and technical support, in some situations such as humanitarian or man-made emergencies, disease outbreaks or the emergence of epidemics of non-communicable diseases, WHO should initially play an implementing role also,” added Kamwi.
The 67th Session of the World Health Assembly, which took place at the Palace of Nations in Geneva, started last week Monday and ended Saturday.