By Christopher Arko, GNA
Accra, April 16 GNA - The African Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (FPA) has called on African governments to accelerate the process of making Universal Health Coverage (UHC) accessible to all their citizens.
According to the group, Primary Health Care (PHC) should be made the cornerstone of the health system.
The call was contained in a communique, read by Dr Robert Kuganab-Lem, Member of Parliament (MP) for Binduri, at the end of a two-day forum organized in Accra, by the Ghana Parliamentarians Dialogue on Universal Health Coverage, Health Financing and Population and Development.
The forum was attended by MPs from Ghana, Malawi, Cameroon and Tanzania.
According to the group, Primary Health Care (PHC) should be made the cornerstone of the health system which is the critical first step to achieving health for all.
The group called for parliamentary advocacy to champion the goals of accelerating progress and making health for all a reality.
The Communique also called on parliamentarians to support policies and programme that harness the demographic dividend through echoing the capabilities of young people to contribute to social and economic development and innovation.
To review and strengthen the health system, there is the need to address financial issues to guarantee and make resources available for the implementation of the national health plans and policies.
The group advocated a reduction and progressive abolishing of out-of-pocket expenses while ensuring the effective implementation of cost-effective primary health care policies and strengthening of the Ghana’s NHIS.
The communique stressed the need to initiate dialogue and resolve the current gaps and challenges in health financing through increases in health investments and budgeting in line with the 15 percent Abuja Declaration.
Also, having universal access to immunization is critical to reducing child mortality, morbidity and disability which is important to help the countries achieve their long-term health, economic and development goals as well as address the problems of vaccine and healthcare delivery systems.
The group said it would continue to advocate for gender equality and the empowerment of men, women and adolescent girls and boys to enable them make informed decisions about their own lives and become agents of change for their communities.
It stressed the need to promote transparency and accountability in programmes relating to the oversight of national parliaments and parliamentary committees to ensure the adoption of public budgets that are sensitive to UHC friendly programmes.
It further called on all parties to uphold the principles of effective development and make every effort to work with existing system and structure at the national, sub-regional and continental levels.
The African Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (FPA) is a regional network of African Members of Parliament from across political groups and countries that are committed to implement the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
FPA aims to promote and initiate cooperation partnerships between parliamentary networks and other stakeholders active on population and development in Africa and worldwide.