BANJUL, 28 NOVEMBER 2018: The much awaited Country Health Compact has finally taken off ground. The Honourable Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Isatou Touray, this morning, launched the Gambia’s Health Compact. The Health Compact paves the way for renewed and strategic partnership between the Government of the Republic of The Gambia and health development partners. This partnership is eventually expected to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage, i.e. access to high quality and affordable health care that will lead to improved and equitable health outcomes for all Gambians. The Health Compact is guided by the principles outlined within the framework of the International Health Partnership Plus (IHP+), the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the 2008 Accra Agenda for Action.
The Minister paid tribute to the World Health Organization for supporting her Ministry all the way in driving this initiative, which, she said, is a new chapter. The Health Compact is an opportunity for Government and partners to work together to promote accountability, transparency, ownership and efficiency in the way health services are governed and delivered in the Gambia. “Health is a fundamental human right which everyone everywhere must enjoy”, the Honourable Minister asserted. She appealed to partners for speedy action as the health sector is currently experiencing a lot of challenges which require collective action and genuine partnership.
This call was well received by all the partners present at the launch, which included the United Nations System, United States Embassy, Global Fund and others key partners. All expressed their delight to witness the launch and stated their commitment to the Health Compact as well as support the Gambia to achieve its health development goals. As a way forward, partners unanimously agreed to meet quarterly and to officially buy into the Compact, through their signatures, which will be done at a later date.
The WHO Representative, Dr. Desta Tiruneh also described today’s event as an historic milestone in health sector governance in the Gambia, and thanked the Honorable Minister for her strong leadership and commitment to promoting the national health agenda. He pledged WHO’s commitment to supporting the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in further strengthening this partnership within the framework of Universal Health Coverage.
Meanwhile, Dr Tiruneh used the opportunity to present the 2018 World No-Tobacco Day Award to the Honourable Minister, which was dedicated to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. At the handover ceremony, both Dr. Tiruneh and Hon. Dr Touray pledged their respective institutions’ commitment to tobacco control in the Gambia. The Hon. Minister said Her Ministry has already written a Cabinet paper advocating for approval of the Tobacco Control Regulations and introduction of a new tobacco levy, which will be used to support tobacco control and for NCD prevention and control.
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Mr. George. Williams
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