Laos takes leading role at World Health Assembly on primary healthcare

Dr Bounkong Syhavong

LAO PDR (Vientiane Times) - Laos joined other countries in Geneva, Switzerland, recently at the 72nd World Health Assembly to discuss ways to make primary healthcare more responsive. The assembly - the decision-making body of the World Health Organisation (WHO), convened from May 20-28.

The meeting was attended by member state delegations under the theme “Universal Health Coverage: Leave no one behind”, and focused on the needs of the most vulnerable communities. Lao Minister of Health, Assoc. Prof. Dr Bounkong Syhavong, was elected President of the 72nd World Health Assembly.

In his address, he said such meetings were an important venue for states to discuss people’s expectations of a safer world with fewer threats to their wellbeing, and responsive and accessible health systems providing good quality care when they need it. “For several years, the Lao government has recognised that accelerated actions are required to match the strong commitment to Universal Health Coverage and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said. “ All countries must work together to collectively deliver on this task set out for us, always keeping in mind that all of our people await solutions from this assembly on a variety of current and emerging global health challenges.”

“As we continue to progress towards graduation from Least Developed Country status, we have entered a new transition phase guided by ongoing health sector reforms, stronger governance, and the need for increased domestic funding,” he added. Therefore Laos was committed to addressing the three fundamental aspects of Laos takes leading role at World Health Assembly on primary healthcare Universal Health Coverage: financial risk protection; accessibility; and quality health services, to reach equitable health outcomes for the general public.

An integrated health information system also ensured more effective monitoring and management, the minister said. The head of the Lao delegation noted ‘health for all’ as an essential need which must be integrated into an overall framework for organising and delivering care in a patient-centred, efficient, fair and cost effective way. Universal Health Coverage is a key milestone ensuring that WHO continues to focus on serving the real needs of countries by making a nationwide impact.