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WHO: Time for action on health systems

Putrajaya, Malaysia, 12 October 2010—The Regional Committee for the Western Pacific Region, the World Health Organization's governing body in the Region, today endorsed a regional strategy aimed at delivering quality health services to all people, when and where they need them.

"Health is a human right for all," Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, told the Regional Committee meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia, where the new policy was put to WHO's Regional Member States.

The new regional strategy comes at a time of increasing strain on health systems from factors such as new and re-emerging diseases, the growing threat from noncommunicable diseases, ageing populations, and the commercialization of health services in some countries. Against this background, WHO is campaigning for universal coverage as a means of ensuring that health services are available to those need them the most: the underprivileged.

Known officially as the "Western Pacific Regional Strategy for Health Systems Based on the Values of Primary Health Care", the new plan employs a whole-of-system approach to health, involving leadership, adequate human resources, information, medical products and technology, financing and service delivery. WHO said that healthcare systems based on primary health care values tend to be more pro-poor, equitable and accessible and are associated with higher patient satisfaction. These values were defined as:

  • Equity,
  • Universality,
  • Social justice,
  • Participation,
  • People centredness,
  • Scientific soundness,
  • Personal responsibility, and
  • Self-determination.

"The people of the Western Pacific Region deserve to live out their lives in the highest state of health possible," WHO said. "This is expressed in the vision of this strategy, which is universal coverage for better outcomes."

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