The specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health, the World Health Organization, is 75 years this year.
With a focus on ensuing “Health for All”, per the theme of the anniversary, WHO aspires to motivate action to tackle the health challenges for improved well-being and longer, healthier lives for everyone.
In Ghana, WHO and the Ministry of Health have launched a yearlong celebration of the 75th anniversary to coincided with the celebration of World Health Day.
Representing the UN in Ghana at the event which was held in Accra on 14 April, were the Resident Coordinator, Charles Abani, and other Heads of UN agencies. Mr. Abani reaffirmed the UN’s participation and undying commitment to forming formidable partnerships, particularly with health institutions, to provide essential health care evenly and equitably for everyone.
“UN in Ghana has contributed effectively with increased capacity to lead transformational changes in achieving the SDG 3 and together, with the government, is committed to act to ensure the availability of healthy foods for Ghanaians and invest in essential nutrition action as part of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) roadmap” he stated.
It is notable that although Ghana had made remarkable achievements towards achieving UHC as seen by the increase in Ghana’s UHC Service coverage index from 35 in 2010 to 47.8 in 2021, the COVID -19 pandemic has disrupted health systems, economies and societies which have particularly affected the collective progress towards the attainment of the health-related sustainable goals, specifically Goal 3 on health and wellbeing.
It is therefore important that those gains are consolidated by adhering to the 2030 Ghana’s UHC roadmap and focal areas such as; systematic improvement in health government, eradication and elimination of communicable diseases such as smallpox, wild poliovirus, trachoma; climate change, good health and many others.
These guarantees were made by Dr. Francis Kasolo, WHO’s Representative to Ghana.
Key issues that were addressed in the launch of the anniversary include the WHO’s formation and its support to Ghana to promote health inclusivity for all through technical and financial support in building a resilient health system. As well as the development of strategic documents such as the National Action Plan for Health Security on non-Communicable Disease including Mental Health, Comprehensive Multi-Year Plan for the expanded Year Programme on Immunization and the National Innovative Health Financing Strategy.
Dr. Kasolo stated that the anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on the exceptional achievements of their joint efforts to enhance the health and wellbeing of the Ghanaian people.
He added “it is also an opportunity for us to unite around a single goal and reaffirm our commitment to addressing new health for all".
The Minister of Health, Hon Kwaku Agyeman-Manu in his keynote address acknowledged the immerse contribution of the WHO in assisting Ghana in combating public health emergencies and to the Ghana health sector at large. “The theme for WHO 75th anniversary; Health for All resonates with Ghana’s current health policy and UHC road map he added’’.
There were other solidarity messages that resonated with the theme for the 75th anniversary celebration. They included messages from Dr.Tedros Ghebreyessus, WHO DG; Ms. Beth Cadman OBE, Development Director, UK-FCDO/Health Development Partners Lead and Mme. Nana Siriboe, Rotary International.
Present at the anniversary launch were Professor Fred Binka, VC, The University of Health and Allied Sciences; Simone Giger, Switzerland Ambassador to Ghana, former staff of the WHO and many other prominent figures from the Ghana Health Services.