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WHO South-East Asia region launches regional forum for primary healthcare-oriented health system

Bangkok: The World Health Organisation South-East Asia Region and partners on Tuesday launched the South-East Asia Regional Forum for Primary Health Care-Oriented Health Systems.

A WHO statement said that robust primary health care (PHC)-oriented health system is the "most equitable and efficient approach" for universal health coverage and health security. In the press release, the WHO stressed that the importance of PHC-oriented health systems was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic challenges. The WHO called on member states to make policy and strengthen efforts towards quality, accessible and affordable primary health care for universal health coverage, health security, and Health for All.

Addressing participants at the launch of the PHC forum, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, said, "Amid the ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery, demands on health systems across our Region have increased, demands that must be met amid significant resource constraints, even as we advocate for countries to not just sustain but even increase expenditure on health."

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh stressed on the importance of coordinated and sustained support towards national priorities. She emphasised that the challenges they face are "immense" and the "glass is half full."

Dr Poonam Kheterpal Singh said, "While the last few years have witnessed unprecedented energy and innovation in health, we must grasp these and other opportunities to accelerate transformation across our Region and do so in a manner that is coordinated, aligned with national priorities, and which avoids duplication and fragmentation."

The WHO in the press release noted that the WHO South-East Asia region launched its new strategy on primary healthcare in December 2021. The strategy included 12 interdependent strategic Actions, which seek to guide, support and monitor PHC transformation in the region.

In the press release, the WHO said that the Regional PHC Forum will call for action across countries by facilitating implementation-focused knowledge and experience, strengthened collaboration across development, implementation, and research partners, towards priorities of member states and enable joint advocacy for strengthened PHC investment in the region. (ANI)

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