Stowelink was invited to the AfroPHC workshop to represent young people and NCD organizations in Africa. Representing Stowelink at the workshop, Mr. Oduor Kevin (Chief Programs Officer-Stowelink) advocated for integration of NCDs services into the primary health care. While recognizing that limited funding options and the increasing financial downtime orchestrated by COVID-19 may be blamed reversing the gain made in PHC, Oduor strongly advocated for innovative financing for NCDs.
SPARC, in partnership with AfroPHC, organized a webinar themed “Exploring UHC Funding/Payment Reforms for PHC in Africa.” AfroPHC is a community of Primary Health Care (PHC) health workers interested in elevating learnings, issues and opportunities for PHC Systems Strengthening and SPARC is an Africa based resource hub aimed at Strengthening Strategic Purchasing capacity in sub-Saharan Africa. Its vision is to empower countries with knowledge and practical tools to make access to affordable and quality health care a reality for all.
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) proposes that everyone access the quality healthcare services they need without exposure to any financial risk. The vast amount of evidence indicates that primary healthcare service is essential and a foundation for a strong health system, offering preventive and basic healthcare intervention including for NCDs. However, this level of service delivery is seemingly least prioritized in terms of funding and purchasing modalities. Again, despite the encouraging evidence of the world leader’s commitment to address NCDs, many countries policy response to NCD control are limited. There is variation in implementation of PHC and UHC with fragmented response to NCDs.
Vast amount of evidence suggests that addressing the growing NCD burden will require substantial re-orientation of primary health care (PHC) including the funding mechanism to alleviate the increasing out-of-pocket expenditure that impede health care access. Mr. Oduor asserted that NCDs are becoming/or are already defining challenge of the 21st Century hence the growing body of need for expanding primary healthcare packages to adequately tackle this silent pandemic.
In commenting on the need to increase awareness of PHC workers and PHC financing options, Mr. Oduor commented that PHC has focused so much on infectious disease with little or no attention to NCDs. As such, he proposed that PHC workers must now be equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills for detecting and managing non-communicable diseases at the primary health care levels. Similarly, regular refresher training on NCDs is critical to for PHC workers as this will also serve to update them on current development/trends around this field.
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