Salalah, The Ministerial Meeting “The Road to

the Universal Health Coverage in the Eastern-Mediterranean Region

was concluded at Salalah Rotana Resort today.

The Ministerial Meeting today resulted in issuing the Salalah

Declaration on UHC 2018.

The Declaration called on health policymakers to define a

context-specific Essential Health Service Package, to be based on

globally and regionally identified Universal Health Coverage Priority

Benefit Packages (UHC-PBPs) � taking into consideration each

country’s burden of disease, economic imperatives and people’s

preferences, establish/reconfigure prepayment arrangements for

various population groups � leaving no one behind, to be financed via

budget allocation and/or mandatory contributions, to reduce

fragmentation, enhance equity and promote financial and social

protection, dedicate a strong and continuous attention to quality and

patient safety in healthcare systems in both the public and non-profit

and for-profit private sectors, with an emphasis on engaging and

empowering people to improve healthcare access.

Furthermore, the meeting called them to extend the coverage of

quality health services, embracing family practice, improving

infrastructure, increasing workforce availability, performance and

relevance, and improving access to essential medicines and health

technologies � considering available resources and equitable

distribution, expand the goal of Universal Health Coverage to non-

nationals residing within national territories, including refugees and

migrant workers, as well as other marginalized groups, using innovative

financing arrangements, improve the essential public health functions

and preparedness plans and capacity to implement and monitor the

International Health Regulations (2005) as part of the one health

approach for strengthening health systems towards Universal Health

Coverage, establish inclusive multi-sectoral platforms for policy

dialogue to facilitate stakeholder involvement in formulating the vision

for Universal Health Coverage and its subsequent implementation,

adopt the principles of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus to

ensure an integrated approach in countries affected by emergencies,

strengthen national health information systems, including eHealth, to

monitor progress towards Universal Health Coverage as part of the

Sustainable Development Agenda, as well as strengthening

governance arrangements to improve performance, accountability,

responsiveness and participation, including awareness raising efforts

for positive behavior change.

The Salalah Declaration on UHC 2018 also called the

development partners, including the World Health Organization

(WHO), the World Bank, other United Nations (UN) agencies and

multilateral and bilateral donors and development banks, to support

countries’ efforts by sharing global best practices, building national

capacities, supporting inclusive policy dialogue on strengthening

health systems to advance Universal Health Coverage, and facilitating

resource mobilization to implement agreed strategies and options.

Further, the Declaration called the international community to

extend its support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for

Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as key provider of

health services to six million Palestinian refugees, in order to maintain

its vital services to this vulnerable population, without negatively

impacting the host countries.

The sessions of the day addressed the health security and

Universal Health Coverage, promoting the inclusive national health

systems for migrants and host communities along with monitoring

Universal Health Coverage. A high-level panel discussion on national

experiences in advancing towards UHC in the emergency context and

another panel discussion on the partnerships for Universal Health

Coverage were held on the sidelines of the meeting.

At the end of the meeting, Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Sa’eedi,

Minister of Health stressed the importance of the scientific sessions

that were discussed during the Meeting, as well as the

recommendations resulted in the Meeting emphasized at the same

time on the importance of unifying efforts between the EMR countries

towards Universal Health Coverage.

The three-day Meeting was hosted by the Sultanate, and

organised by the Regional Office of the World Health Organization

(WHO) for the Eastern Mediterranean, in cooperation and collaboration

with the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The Ministerial Meeting sought to achieve several objectives that

included introducing the policymakers to the most up-to-date

knowledge and thinking on health systems, Universal Health Coverage

and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and sharing global best

practices in effectively advancing UHC through health system

strengthening.

Source: Oman News Agency