By Asmau Ahmad
The Director General of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called on countries to focus on providing preventive health care instead of treating sick persons.
The WHO DG stated this on Sunday at the opening of the World Health Summit 2022 held in Berlin, Germany.
The theme for this year’s conference is “Making the Choice for Health.”
The summit is expected to focus on the theme by reflecting on pressing topics such as investment for health and well-being, climate change and planetary health, architecture for pandemic preparedness, digital transformation for health, food systems and health, health systems resilience and equity, and global health for peace.
Other speakers at the event are the President of Senegal and Chairperson of the African Union, Macky Sall; Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, and Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Olaf Scholz amongst others.
Speaking at the summit, Adhanom urged countries to make a paradigm shift to investing in preventive health care.
He said, “Taking global health to the next level means a new global approach that prioritises promoting health and preventing disease, rather than only treating the sick. By and large, the world’s health systems do not deliver healthcare. They deliver sick care.
“That’s why I am calling on all countries to make a paradigm shift towards promoting health and preventing diseases, recognising that health starts not from hospitals and clinics, but in homes, streets, schools, and workplaces.
“Making the shift requires a reorientation and rebalancing of health systems towards primary health care, as the foundation of universal health coverage and health security.
“It also requires changes in how governments approach health and fund it.
“Health can no longer be just the business of the health minister or the health sector, but the whole of the society.
“Health must be a primary consideration in urban planning, tax policy, transport, education policy, commerce, trade finance, infrastructure and so on.”
Speaking further at the event which is billed to end on October 18th, the WHO DG stressed that health can no longer be a junior portfolio in government as found all over the world but must be elevated because the health and security of a population are the foundation for a healthy society.