Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The World Health Organisation (WHO) has encouraged countries to strengthen their data and information system if they are to address inequities that exist in the health system.
Quoting their recent global assessment which found only 51% of the countries have included disaggregated data in their national health statistics reports, the organization warns in their World Health day statement marked on every April 7 that the real health status of some countries is unknown as the actual picture is always masked in national averages.
They say it is often those who are made vulnerable, poor or discriminated against, who are the most likely to be missing from the data entirely.
“Now is the time to invest in health as a motor of development,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus the WHO Director-General. “We do not need to choose between improving public health, building sustainable societies, ensuring food security and adequate nutrition, tackling climate change and having thriving local economies. All these vital outcomes go hand in hand”, he says health inequality monitoring should be an integral part of all national health information systems.
However, apart from countries having timely, high-quality data that is disaggregated by sex, wealth, education, ethnicity, race, gender and place of residence, WHO notes that countries should invest in other areas that include accelerating access to COVID technologies such as vaccines and other commodities that include medical oxygen and Personal Protective Equipment.
Other key areas that they highlight that need urgent action include investing in primary health care, investing in social protection schemes for the poor and building healthy and inclusive neighbourhoods.
In investing in Primary Healthcare for instance, WHO urges governments to strive to ensure that the global shortfall of 18million health workers is reduced. They recommend creating at least 10 million additional full-time jobs globally and strengthening gender equality efforts.
“Women deliver most of the world’s health and social care, representing up to 70% of all health and care workers, but they are denied equal opportunities to lead it. Key solutions include equal pay to reduce the gender pay gap and recognizing unpaid health care work by women”, the statement reads in part.