New Delhi: The World Health Organization(WHO) on Wednesday stressed on the need of collaborative efforts by government’s of the South-East Asian Region to address inequality for ensuring healthier populations of their countries.
“COVID-19 is just the latest disease to expose, exploit and exacerbate inequities that negatively impact health and socioeconomic outcomes between and among vulnerable groups. Understanding and overcoming the many social and economic determinants of health is becoming critical in our efforts to achieve universal health coverage,” said the Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh in an official statement.
The Regional Director emphasised on the importance of the data collection process for COVID-19 mitigation “We must enhance the collection and use of timely and reliable health data that is disaggregated by gender, age, income, education, migratory status and disability among other factors.”
Once better informed, the governments and the affected communities must work hand in hand to address the root causes of inequities and implement solutions.
As we tackle the social determinants of health, countries should continue to invest more for strengthening primary health care, she added.
Dr Khetrapal Singh said that government’s must act beyond national borders and strengthen regional and global health security, emphasizing that addressing health inequities has been at the heart of WHO South-East Asia’s work since 2014 with Universal Health Coverage being a Flagship Priority, one that remained integral to the Region’s response during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Regional Director emphasised on the need for universal health coverage.”Working together to achieve a different and better post-COVID-19 world, we have an unprecedented opportunity to tackle health inequities and ensure health for all through universal health coverage”.
Her statement said that the COVID-19 vaccine roll outs are an example of health equity as all countries have prioritized health and frontline workers, older persons and people with co-morbidities, in alignment with SAGE recommendations.
“Nearly 86 million people in the region have now received their first dose of the vaccine and more than 14 million have received both the doses,” Dr Khetrapal Singh said.