Input for Civil Society Engagement Mechanism (CSEM)
This partner perspective comes from the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism. We're delighted to introduce a set of stories collected by the CSEM to show perspectives from civil society actors and civil society organizations all over the world to mark the first UN UHC Day and to demonstrate civil society commitment to work towards achieving UHC.
CSEM and partners seek to promote representativeness and equity on the road to UHC. The views expressed, however, belong solely to each blog author.
By Albert van Hal, Cordaid
On UHC Day last year, 12-12-2017, Cordaid organized a public debate in Kabul on Universal Health Coverage. Officials of Ministries of Health, Ministries of Finance, Members of Parliament, UN agencies, embassies, national and international NGOs, international policy makers and donors took part in de debate.
This part in italics or in a table:
In Afghanistan Cordaid is providing together with an Afghan NGO called AHDS the Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) and the Essential Package of Hospital Services (EPHS) in the southern province of Urozgan. Both organizations implement EPHS in the eastern province of Kunar as well. Cordaid supports human resource development through the training of midwives, nurses, pharmacists and lab technicians in Kandahar for students from Southern provinces. The organization has introduced Result Based Financing and is assisting the Ministry of Public Health in lobby and advocacy for UHC.
In sum most experts agree that public healthcare in Afghanistan is progressing well, but has one obvious challenge: the dependence on international funds. That is jeopardizing UHC in Afghanistan in the longer run.
The participants of the debate in Kabul agreed to develop a national action plan for UHC, to advocate for political commitment among leaders in Afghanistan, to advocate among the International Community to sustain international financial support, and to broaden the resource base for UHC in Afghanistan through an increase of Afghan investments in healthcare. In summary the Afghan government is prioritizing Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM): finding more Afghan funds for Afghan healthcare. The Afghan government wants to decrease its dependence on international funds.
During the World Health Assembly in Geneva last May the Afghan minister of Public Health, dr Ferozuddin Feroz, explained the situation of UHC in Afghanistan. Notwithstanding the grim context of violence in Afghanistan healthcare is doing quite well. Access to healthcare increased dramatically the last decade and some major indicators like maternal mortality and infant mortality made strong progress. Dr Feroz also presented concrete measures of DRM. In response to Minister Feroz the WHO Director-General, dr Tedros, called healthcare “the shining light of Afghanistan”.
Cordaid is working hard to keep this on the agenda of the national and international policy makers. Cordaid, the Alliance of Health Organizations (AHO) and the Afghan Ministry of Public Health organize a conference for national and international experts on the financing of healthcare in Afghanistan end of this year. Domestic Resource Mobilization will be at the heart of the conference. According to healthcare policy makers DRM is the “talk of the town” in Kabul. The conference will be a call to action for politicians, policy makers, donors, and health professionals.