The highlights of CARPHA need to address health inequalities
As World Health Day is observed…
Kaieteur News – Under the theme: “Together for a fairer, healthier world,” World Health Day was observed yesterday (April 7, 2021). As part of its comment, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) underlined that the theme is essentially “a call for urgent action to eradicate health inequalities and stimulate action to achieve better health for all” leaving no one on back.
Leaders, according to CARPHA, must heed the call to monitor health inequalities and address their underlying causes to ensure that “everyone has access to the living and working conditions conducive to good health and quality health services where and when they need it, and investing in primary healthcare to ensure health for all. ”
Health inequalities, CARPHA identified in a statement, are unjust, unfair, and widen the equity gaps, preventing people from reaching their full potential because of where a person is born, lives, grows and works. He added that these health inequalities are largely felt among those who are disadvantaged and who often experience discrimination, which could lead to illness, morbidity and premature death.
“Reducing health inequalities is important because health is a fundamental human right. Everyone deserves to live a healthy life regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, economic situation or employment. Health inequalities go against the fabric of social justice because they can be avoided, ”said Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director of CARPHA.
But to promote prevention, CARPHA has claimed, a whole-society approach is needed. In addition, it stated that “it is important to work with those in affected communities, address issues of inequality, implement solutions, and work with governments to create a harmonized system.”
In addition, it was highlighted that “health information systems should be able to identify vulnerable populations, and health inequalities should be monitored to ensure that everyone has access to quality health services without discrimination.”
Several factors, CARPHA, reported contributing to inequalities such as poverty, unemployment, environmental challenges, gender inequalities, and most recently, the emergence of COVID-19. Noting that the pandemic had serious consequences for people already experiencing inequalities, CARPHA highlighted that it has had a disproportionate impact on those people who are already socially and economically disadvantaged.
“The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the difficulties in accessing healthcare for people with chronic diseases, vulnerable communities, and those facing inequalities. We need to ensure that the rights of people living with chronic diseases are not violated, and the provision of chronic disease prevention and management services for children, young people, adults and vulnerable populations continues during COVID-19, ” says Dr. St.
CARPHA has been tasked with supporting Member States’ access to quality healthcare and essential medicines, through the provision of public health services in areas such as laboratory testing, environmental health, surveillance, program development and policy advice. This, the statement noted, contributes to a positive impact on the delivery of services to communities and ultimately on their health and well-being.
Through its Caribbean Regulatory System, CARPHA helps Member States reduce the cost to consumers and the health system of quality medicines, thereby improving accessibility and affordability.
CARPHA also collaborates with national, regional and international partners to ensure that the people of the Caribbean have access to an adequate and sustainable supply of drinking-water, to satisfy hygiene and sanitation, while maintaining availability for maintaining ecosystem functionality.
It also urged Member States to develop and implement fairer policies and actions to ensure health equity. “Countries are encouraged to strengthen inter-sectoral, regional and national action to tackle the social determinants of health approach – gender equity, health entitlement, monitoring health inequalities, strengthening health systems, and disseminating information,” the statement stated.
Stigma and discrimination, he noted, also contributed to reducing access to social determinants of health, entitlements, and preventive services, including delays in seeking health care, at individual, organizational, and social levels.