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UNICEF calls for private sector play to push SDGs

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on February 25, 2021

Rutter asked governments to support R&D in vaccines and medicines as well as increase budget allocations for health and health workers

A top official of the UNICEF has said that India and other countries would do better to ensure private sector involvement and systemic quality improvement in order to minimise maternal and infant mortality as well as achieve health-related targets under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Paul Rutter, Regional Advisor (Health), UNICEF, made these observations while addressing a webinar on ‘Achieving SDGs related to maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate - Dream or Reality,’ organised by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Kerala. He lauded the state for ensuring community engagement, social accountability, and decentralised governance in primary healthcare.

Universal health coverage

Rutter said key interventions to improve coverage and quality and a strong primary healthcare network underpin the success of the mission to achieve universal health coverage and meet the SDGs by 2030. “Private sector engagement and systemic quality improvement are keys to accelerating this,” he noted.

While holding forth on the ‘components of quality,’ he said that availability of essential medicines needs to be ensured, evidence-based clinical interventions and practices complied with, and infrastructure suitably ramped up before any meaningful work to reduce death rates can be taken up with any degree of success.

Deaths from poor service quality

The number of deaths at five million across the globe each year from poor quality of services was far greater in than those due to non-utilisation of health services at 3.5 million. For South Asia, the figures stood at one million and 1.9 million respectively (or 58 per cent for the world and 64 per cent for South Asia).

Rutter advised governments to support research in vaccines and medicines and increase budget allocations for health and health workers. Halving the number of deaths and injuries from traffic accidents would also be of help. On reproductive health, he said ensuring universal access was the key.

Published on February 25, 2021

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