Statement of the World Organisation of Family Doctors, WONCA, Africa Region to the 66th Session of WHO Afro Regional Committee held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 19th to 23rd August, 2016.
I am grateful for the opportunity to bring the perspective of family doctors in Africa to the subject of “Health in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” to this august assembly.
The World Organisation of Family Doctors, WONCA, is an international organisation with over 500,000 members in about 130 countries and territories around the world. However, in the Africa Region, only Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and Lesotho are currently members. Our mission is to assist member countries develop the content and delivery of good quality care by family doctors/primary care physicians around the world. WONCA has been in collaboration with WHO for several years now.
Evidence abounds that national health systems based on primary health care is the most cost effective way to deliver universally accessible health care to populations.
We believe the adoption the adoption and implementation of this is an attainable goal for all counties in Africa by 2030. However, this will require the political commitment and creative approach to harness available resources. Such commitment would involve :
- A paradigm shift in budgetary allocation that prioritise primary care. The management of the funds should target direct benefits to the end users and not bureaucratic services. This can be achieved through the implementation of a well designed national social health insurance scheme.
- A commitment to an effective public-private partnership that utilises resources in the private sector, which in some countries provide as much as 65% of health care services, in a complementary way with those in the public sector. The public sector can concentrate more in providing secondary and tertiary care while the private sector is empowered to take care of primary care and decongest the government hospitals.
- Human capacity development for primary health care. The WHA in its declaration on Primary Care: Now More than Ever in 2008, highlighted the need to develop human resources for the primary health care team. The ultimate goal for universal health coverage should be a system that guarantees the coverage of every family by a designated family doctor within a strong team. It is most critical to develop primary care physicians to lead such teams and bring high quality person-centred care to the population in Africa. There is the urgent need to pay attention to this call and align our medical education at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels to meet our need for more doctors in Africa by 2030.
WONCA has been partnering with Member Organisations around the world to enhance the contributions of family doctors to the national health service of their respective countries. We need the support of the distinguished delegates to this conference to encourage our respective countries to engage with their family doctors in developing primary health care in their countries and encourage them to benefit from WONCA through formal membership.
Thank you for listening.
Dr Ehimatie Obazee,