Govt committed to achieve universal health coverage: Yusuf

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Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Muhammad Yousaf Sheikh Wednesday said the government was committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda and Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Addressing a meeting on Developing National Universal Health Coverage Priority Benefits Package, the minister said the main objective of UHC was the quality of essential package of health services to be comprehensive and accessible to all, and to improve the health of those receiving the services.
He said Pakistan was the fifth most populous country in the world with an estimated population of over 213 million. “Fragmented nature of today’s health system means that they are becoming increasingly unable to respond to the demands placed upon them,” he added.
The focus on hospital-based, disease-based and self-contained curative care models, he said, undermined the ability of health system to provide universal, equitable, high quality and financially sustainable care.
He said the UHC could not be achieved without improvement in the service delivery so that all people were able to access high quality health services that meet their needs and preferences.
“The strategy calls for reforms to reorient health services, shifting away from fragmented supply-oriented models, towards health services that put people and communities at their centre, and surrounds them with responsive services that are coordinated,” he said.
He said in case of Pakistan, ‘Financial Health Protection Initiatives’ and ‘Family Practice Approach’ were strategic choices for the federal and provincial governments to meet the fundamental challenges faced by the health system in the country.
The minister said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development had given impetus to Universal Health Coverage as an overarching target to guide health systems transformations to achieve the health-specific and health-related Sustainable Development Goals targets.

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