Tedros outlines steps to transform WHO

Geneva, Switzerland (PANA) – Seeking to transform the World Health Organization (WHO),  Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said the UN agency needs to make several major organizational shifts to truly fulfil its mission and mandate.

“The first is that we must become much more focused on outcomes rather than simply outputs,” said Tedros who took charge of WHO in July 2017, with his signature initiative being -- universal health coverage, health equity and WHO’s work with non-state actors.

In an interview carried Wednesday by Global Health NOW, Tedros said “WHO is known for the quality of its normative work, but there’s little value in publishing a guideline if nobody uses it.”

In his view, greater emphasis is required “on making sure our world-class technical work is used at country level, and a much greater focus on measuring the impact of that work.”

“The second major shift,” he explained, “flows from the first. If our mission is to ensure a measurable impact in health in countries, we must make sure that our 150 country offices have the resources they need to make a difference.”

Tedros noted that in the past, WHO was too Geneva-centric. “We’re seeking to reshape WHO’s ‘operating model’ to make sure everything we do supports what our country offices need to deliver impact.”

On the third point, he said the global health architecture is very different now from what it was when WHO was founded 70 years ago, with many more actors with skills, experience, knowledge, networks and resources that WHO lacks.

“If we see this as a threat, it leads to territorialism and more silos. But if we see it as an opportunity, we can have a much greater impact than ever before. The key is to engage with partners proactively, harness everyone’s collective strength.

“Finally, there’s little point in setting ambitious goals if they’re not matched by ambitious investments. We will soon be releasing our investment case, which describes what a fully funded WHO could achieve. But it’s not just the quantity of funding that matters; it’s the quality.”

“One of the biggest threats to WHO’s long-term success is the earmarking of funds. So, we’re urging our Member States to support us with high-quality, flexible funding to enable us make the biggest impact possible.

Regarding universal health coverage, the WHO boss said there’s an important distinction between universal health care and universal health coverage.

Tedros explained: “The former is often used to refer to clinical services delivered by health workers in health facilities. The latter includes clinical services but is much broader: It also includes public goods that address the social, economic, occupational and environmental determinants of health, such as clean water and sanitation, road safety, efforts to reduce air pollution and so on.

“Many of these are determined by policies that lie outside the health sector, so it’s vital that those of us in the health sector work across sectors to achieve health goals, such as working with the energy sector to improve reduce air pollution and climate change. In the same way, other sectors need to work with the health sector to achieve their own goals.”
-0- PANA AR 5Sept2018

05 september 2018 17:09:17

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