Africa: Toyin Saraki addresses United Nations General Assembly on Accountability and Health Outcomes; joins Director-General of the WHO and the President of Uruguay at launch of WHO Non-Communicable Diseases Declaration

Photo: Tami Hultman / AllAfrica
Toyin Saraki chairing the Child Health and Malaria Forum at the Access Challenge Universal Health Coverage Conference, in a week of advocacy during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

New York — Toyin Saraki has addressed the United Nations General Assembly and outlined the key interventions which must be made to transform health outcomes for women, children and communities around the world. Mrs Saraki was requested to make her address at the launch of the Independent Accountability Panel report ‘Private Sector: Who is Accountable,’ as mandated by the UN Secretary-General.

Throughout the United Nations General Assembly this week, Mrs Saraki – as Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa – laid out her vision at the panel discussion of the report which calls on governments, parliaments, private sector partners and multilateral agencies to establish effective accountability systems.

In her remarks to the General Assembly, which were commended by the Independent Accountability Panel, Mrs Saraki commented:

“Thank you to the members of the Accountability Panel for the opportunity to address you today.”

“Only two countries in Africa have met the Abuja declaration to pledge 15% of their government budgets to health. Meanwhile, tuberculosis kills more than 4,000 people every single day. This can be avoided.”

“I am advocating for five key interventions to achieve both accountability and the demographic dividend.”

“Civil registration and vital statistics systems must be implemented and strengthened to allow Governments to prepare for epidemics and allocate investment where it is needed the most.”

“Investment in family, community and primary healthcare – along with hospitals where needed – to bolster healthcare wherever people need it; in rural areas and urban, cities and villages.”

“Government investment in strengthening health insurance systems is paramount to achieving Universal Health Coverage – in Nigeria and around the world, too many people are plunged into poverty by health emergencies that they or their families experience.”

“Non-communicable diseases kill over 41 million people every year. The Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros, has rightly highlighted the NCD crisis and it must be a core focus of all Government programmes. Strengthening the primary health tier is key to prevention, detection and treatment of NCDs”

“Finally, and most importantly, the murder of young midwife and mother Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa in Nigeria last week must spur Governments and global institutions on to strengthen security provisions for frontline health workers. Their training and pay conditions must also be improved.”

Following her United Nations address, Mrs Saraki joined the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros, and the President of Uruguay, His Excellency Tabaré Vázquez, at a global press briefing to mark the WHO Non-Communicable Diseases Declaration.

Mrs Saraki, who also serves as Chair of Nigeria’s Primary Health Care Revitalisation Support Group, subsequently participated in the United Nations General Assembly Third High-level Meeting on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which undertook a comprehensive review of the global and national progress achieved in putting measures in place that protect people from dying too young from heart and lung diseases, cancers and diabetes.

The high-level meeting at the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations Headquarters was opened with a keynote speech delivered by renowned philanthropist Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City.

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