first_imgWorld Health Day 2018The Pan-American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), in collaboration with the Public Health Ministry (MoPH), hosted a massive health fair at D’Urban Park in commemoration of World Health Day 2018.World Health Day is observed on April 7 annually, to coincide with the anniversary of the establishment of the World Health Organization. This year, it was observed under the theme “Universal Health: Everyone, Everywhere”.Some of the attendees at the opening ceremonyAt the opening ceremony of the health fair, PAHO-WHO Country Representative Dr William Adu-Krow said the main goal of World Health Day 2018 celebration is to increase awareness of the need for universal health coverage and access. He added that universal health could be achieved only when political will is strong, and he urged world leaders to live up to the pledges they made when they agreed to the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015.“For over 70 years now, health for all has been the guiding vision for World Health Organisation, yet at least half of the world population is still without access to the health service they need, forcing millions into poverty as they struggle to pay for their health bills. Health for all is the driving force behind the PAHO/WHO intitative to support Guyana and countries across the world in their move towards universal health,” he noted.Dr Adu-Krow said the PAHO/WHO hopes to increase awareness of the need for universal health coverage and access, and the benefits that these can bring through ensuring that people could access quality health services where and when they need it, without the financial burden. He noted that health is a fundamental human right, and explained that no one should have to choose between paying for health care and buying food. He added that 2.5 billion people in the world had no access to health care.“Universal health coverage is key to people and nations’ health and wellbeing. Universal health coverage is feasible. Some countries have made progress. Guyana has made great strides along that line. Everywhere in Guyana you can access health and not pay a dime. There are some challenges that we need to think about…the challenges to maintain coverage to meet people’s expectations…,” Dr Adu-Krow noted.While delivering the feature address, Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence called on everyone to take concerted actions to raise awareness, and commit to practising sounder health habits for the advancement of a healthy Guyana.She urged persons to be conscious of their bodies, adding that the MoPH is committed to providing quality health services. She revealed that the MoPH plans to establish wellness centres throughout Guyana, so that persons can engage in physical exercises.“I cannot emphasise enough how important it is for our citizens to make use of our primary facilities. These facilities are manned (by) doctors, nurses, midwives with whom I urge you to interact. They are there for the express purpose of counselling you and helping you to maintain a body that is healthy, resilient and fit. The ministry will continue to upgrade these facilities and offer more services to ensure the health and wellbeing of all,” Lawrence said.Meanwhile, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mikiko Tanaka, said the UN has been actively involved in promoting and protecting good health worldwide. She added that it is that organisation’s aim to inspire, motivate, and guide stakeholders to make commitments towards universal health through highlighting the power of policy makers to transform the health of their nation.“We should commit to concrete steps to advance health for all. This means ensuring that everyone everywhere can access essential and quality health services without facing financial hardships. Access to essential quality care and financial protection not only enhances people’s health and life expectancy, but also protects countries from epidemics, reduces poverty and the risk of hunger, creates jobs, drives economic growth, and enhances gender equality,” Tanaka noted.At the health fair, persons were able to access on-site HIV, blood pressure and blood sugar testing; get an oral checkup, see an optometrist, and donate blood. There were also attractions for the children, while the adults were able to access education on various health habits. Throughout the day, there were health talks by various professionals. (Lakhram Bhagirat)last_img

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