ACCESS Health International, along with representatives from South East Asia Region Member States of the WHO and other partners, will serve on the Advisory Committee to the Regional Forum for Primary Health Care-Oriented Health Systems. The Forum was launched late last month to strengthen implementation-focused learning and cooperation in the region and to accelerate PHC-oriented transformation of health systems.

It was launched at the Regional Workshop to Strengthen Primary Health Care in the South-East Asia Region, that was held in Bangkok, Thailand from November 28 to 30, 2022. Representing ACCESS Health at the forum were Regional Director, South Asia, Dr Krishna Reddy Nallamalla, Deputy Country Director (Technical) Mr Maulik Chokshi, and Director of Communications, Relations, and Partnerships, Dr Uma Aysola.

The Regional PHC Forum will drive action across countries through capturing and facilitating implementation-focused knowledge and experience, strengthened collaboration across development, implementation, and research partners, towards Member State priorities, and enable joint advocacy for strengthened PHC investment in the Region. Member State priorities and needs will drive the Regional PHC Forum, with partners providing support.  

Representatives from SE Asia Region Member States, WHO, USAID, UNICEF, Asian Development Bank, Gates Foundation, JHPIEGO, PATH International, ACCESS Health International, and other relevant partner institutions will serve as an Advisory Committee to the Forum. The Advisory Committee will identify thematic areas and leads, as well as support the preparation and content of regular convening of the SEAR PHC Forum. The Advisory Committee will, as relevant, also seek to guide and enable joint research, programmatic and advocacy actions in support of national PHC- related priorities.

The cohort will work on seven thematic tracks under primary healthcare, of which ACCESS Health will lead the track on financing. The other tracks include PHC workforces, urban PHC, quality of medical products, community, PHC performance monitoring, and assured services.

A robust primary health care (PHC)-oriented health system is the most equitable and efficient approach for achieving universal health coverage and health security. The importance of PHC-oriented health systems was brought to the fore during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic challenges.

“Amid the ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery, demands on health systems across our Region have increased, demands that must be met amid significant resource constraints, even as we advocate for countries to not just sustain but even increase expenditure on health,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, addressing participants at the launch of the PHC forum.

One of the six WHO Regions, WHO South-East Asia is home to over a quarter of the world’s population from 11 Member States- Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste. The WHO South-East Asia Regional office in based in New Delhi India.

In December last year, the Region launched its new strategy on PHC. The Strategy elaborates a set of 12 interdependent Strategic Actions, which seek to together guide, support and monitor PHC transformation in the Region.

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