Minister Lawrence addresses world health assembly on universal health

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Local efforts made by governments can motivate global action for active collaboration with several countries and sectors. This, in turn, can contribute to the achievement of universal health care for all, as being pursued by Guyana’s Ministry of Public Health.

This is the premise of a presentation made by Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence to the World Health General Assembly of 194 country representatives. The World Health Assembly is being held in Geneva Switzerland from May 21 to 26, 2018.

Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence, while officially addressing the World Health General Assembly on Universal Health. (Photo taken/screenshot by PAHO/WHO)

Universal health coverage is a goal of all countries under the World Health Organisation (WHO) to which they all must work together to achieve. Minister Lawrence told representatives of member states that, “We can share learnt lessons best practices and promote close cooperation between governments to ensure that we achieve universal health, (for) everyone, everywhere.”

With reference to Guyana’s progress in this regard, she said that the government has to ensure that, health coverage remains free for all, in keeping with the constitutional rights of all Guyanese.

In achieving Sustainable Development Goals for health, “universal (health) coverage by itself clearly is not sufficient to ensure the health, well-being and equity in our countries” The Minister stated. She added that while there is an improvement in access to health services, there is need to address the social factors of health.

Health services in Guyana are decentralised and the challenge is ensuring that all persons in Guyana access adequate and appropriate health services. The Ministry of Public Health has embarked on a vision of having every person in Guyana be among the healthiest in the Caribbean by 2020. Also, a national health strategy 2013-2020 has been developed to support the process.

This strategy has been compiled on two main pillars, one of which is Universal Health coverage. This means access to medicines and health technologies, providing equitable access to people-centered care. It also envisions strengthened integrated health services delivery networks and competencies for other human resources for health.


By: Delicia Haynes.