Urgent Action Needed to Build Resilient Health Systems

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Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson has called for urgent, comprehensive and cohesive action from Governments to build resilient health systems that can withstand shock and deal adequately with emergencies.

Dr. Ferguson was speaking at the World Health Assembly now on in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Ferguson explained that this is important because the world has become a global community in which cultures, ideas and diseases are shared.

“The porosity of our borders coupled with climate change has led to the migration and introduction of diseases that some regions have never seen before.  We have only to look at the impact of chikungunya on the Region of the Americas and the continued threat of new diseases such as the Zika virus,” he said.

He added that the outbreak of the Ebola virus and the rapidity of spread reinforce the need for resilient and robust health systems. In addition he said countries including Jamaica are also faced with an ageing population and a preponderance of non-communicable diseases, which will result in significant demand on the health sector.

“We must recognize that an outbreak of a disease in any part of the world is a threat to every nation. This means that building resilient and robust health systems requires strong leadership and governance structures, an effective health information system and partnership and coordination of activities among Governments,” he said.

The Minister is leading a delegation to the 68th World Health Assembly being held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland from May 18-23, 2015.