Health care impacted by limited regulatory and monitoring capacity
May 30, 2017 , http://www.kaieteurnewsonline....monitoring-capacity/
The global food, beverage, medical technology and pharmaceutical industries have become powerful. But therein lies a problem for Small Island and Developing States [SIDS], and countries with low lying coastal zones like Guyana, with limited regulatory and monitoring capacity that cannot effectively impact on the negative effects of the activities of these giants.
This disclosure was recently amplified by Minister of Public Health, Ms. Volda Lawrence. According to Lawrence who raised this concern at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, “Our ability to negotiate better solutions for healthy foods and beverages; high quality, effective and safe medicines, and other medical technologies to stimulate the promotion of health and wellness is miniscule as individual SIDS.”
However, the Minister argued that efforts in this regard could be “more impactful when voiced together here in this Assembly against the gigantic global advertising network.”
But Minister Lawrence is confident that the World Health Assembly will address the foregoing challenges even as moves are made to facilitate a clear path to good health and wellbeing. This can be achieved, Lawrence said, by building consensus on the acceleration of the Non Communicable Diseases [NCDs] Goals adopted by the 2014 Review meeting of the Political Declaration of the 2011 UN High level meeting, and WHO Goals and targets, particularly with regard to the marketing of harmful substances.
Among the harmful substances that have been negatively impacting health care are tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy fatty, salty and sugary foods and beverages. Limited access to prevention and treatment technologies, including diagnostics, medicines, screening measures and risk factor mitigation have also put a damper on the health system.
WHO has long indicated its willingness to advance health cooperation in SIDS. This is in light of the fact that they are described as a distinct group of developing countries facing specific social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities. Countries with small, geographically disparate populations and/or limited health workforces are particularly vulnerable to the burden of disease.
Health services available to SIDS also have a vital role to play in sustainable development of the country. The issue of NCDs has been of particular concern. As such, WHO has been working with the larger UN system to address health challenges such as NCDs.
According to WHO information, a number of partnerships dedicated to NCDs have been established especially in the Pacific and Caribbean regions. However it was underscored that the partnerships in this regard require whole-of-society, multi-sectoral and inter-regional approaches to cooperation to improve public health outcomes.
In September 2014, WHO contributed to the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States through the multi-stakeholder partnership dialogue on social development in SIDS, Health and NCDs, youth and women. The work reaffirmed the United Nations’ commitment to support the efforts of SIDS in health and NCDs.
The recent World Health Assembly meeting attended by Minister Lawrence was held under the theme “Building Better Systems for Health in the Age of Sustainable Development.”
According to the Public Health Minister, “under this theme, we have the unique opportunity to address some of the most challenging global health issues and decide on appropriate solutions that will ensure that our world is safer, healthier and responsive to all the needs of its inhabitants with dignity.”
This notion was emphasized by the Minister as she revealed that “For Guyana the challenges to health are clearly recognized as those related to Non-Communicable Diseases, global health security threats and access by all people to the determinants for good health.”