On Wednesday, 10 December, as part of Universal Health Day (UHD), which will be commemorated on Sunday, 12 December, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) hosted a webinar with experts from the region in the field of public health where the Acting Director of Public Health, Suriname, Dr. Rakesh Gajadhar Sukul shared a brief presentation.
Paramaribo, 10 December 2021 (PAHO) - The webinar, which was part of a series on Essential Public Health Functions (EPHF), covered the topic of measuring and strengthening EPHF and the experiences of countries in the Pan American region. Dr. Sukul provided a brief overview of the process of assessment of the EPHF in Suriname thus far and the plans to complete the process. The situational analysis has been completed and assessment of seven of the eleven functions have already been done. Other speakers included public health representatives from seven other countries in the region, including Saint Lucia and Saint Kitts and Nevis from the Caribbean subregion.
The webinars in this series are organized by PAHO's Health Systems & Services Department (HSS) to refocus on the importance of EPHF in the region by providing an opportunity to stimulate political commitment to universal health, global health security and more significantly, health equity. Each country has different experiences and by sharing effective solutions, critical bottlenecks and practical lessons, the aim is to help strengthen public health systems, as well as the impact of access to health services on positive health outcomes.
Universal Health Day (also known as Universal Health Coverage Day) is commemorated annually on 12 December. This day emphasizes the fact that all people, everywhere, should have access to quality health systems, whenever and wherever they need them, without exposing them to financial hardship. This includes all interventions, including in other sectors, that serve to enable a healthy life, well-being and development for all.
The COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to its well-known challenges, has raised awareness about the importance of robust public health structures to protect the most vulnerable. However, while countries are focused on dealing with the impact of COVID-19, public health achievements over the past 10 years have been lost and it has become even more important to invest in robust health systems capable of protecting all. For this reason, it is essential to build resilient health systems capable of protecting everyone. The theme of UHD this year is therefore "Leave no one behind: Invest in health systems for all".