Government • 25 October, 2018

A new Declaration on Primary Health Care adopted at the Global Conference in Astana

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The Global Conference on Primary Health Care “From Alma-Ata toward Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goals,” is held October 25-26 in Astana on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration. The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev attended the opening ceremony of the conference and the high-level session.

Representatives of 140 WHO member states, international organizations and the world academic elite gathered in Astana. In total there are about 1,500 participants. The event was organized by the Government of Kazakhstan, the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

The main goal of the conference participants is to discuss the further development of primary health care, the adoption of the Astana Declaration on Primary Health Care.

The conference was opened by the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, addressing the participants of the event through a video message.

“Contributing to better healthcare worldwide has become an important asset of the medical community. That historical document (the Alma-Ata Declaration) was included in textbooks of many universities in other countries. The signing of the WHO Declaration in 1978 was a prime example of the effectiveness of international efforts. It outlined the basic principles of the development of primary health care. These include public health education, maternal and child health, disease prevention, including vaccination, as well as drug provision. Since then, health care throughout the world has developed in accordance with these key areas,” said the President of Kazakhstan.

According to the Head of State, today humanity is facing new challenges — environmental degradation, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, which led to an increase in chronic diseases.

“In turn, the issue of morbidity of the population increases the burden on social security systems. Of particular importance and relevance at the present stages are the issues of financing health care and universal coverage of medical services. These topics will be tabled at the UN General Assembly in 2019,” said the President.

Elbasy also noted that the current trends in the development of the technological revolution open up new prospects for humanity.

“Today in Kazakhstan, as in the whole world, digital transformation processes are being actively carried out, including in the field of healthcare. Providing support to the health of the population is the basis of sustainable development and growth of the nation’s welfare. I urge all leaders of countries to define this as a top priority of state policy. The adoption of the new Astana Declaration on Primary Health Care will be an important milestone in improving health systems around the world. I believe that this program document will contribute to the improvement of the quality of life and the health of people on a global scale. I thank everyone for their active participation in the conference, I wish you success and fruitful work,” said the President of Kazakhstan.

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also made a video call to the participants of the Global Conference.

“Health is both an outcome and the driver of sustainable development. Our health protection system is primarily aimed at prevention. Forty years ago, the Declaration of Alma-Ata recognized the importance of primary health care, yet too many people still have no access (to primary health care). The imperative is clear — to protect and promote the physical and mental well-being. Thank you for your commitment to this goal,” said the UN Secretary-General.

Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev in his speech noted the importance of the Global Conference in Astana. Forty years ago, the Alma-Ata Declaration was adopted on the Kazakh land. Its uniqueness is that for the first time in the history of mankind, all states officially recognize the equal right of people to health. At the same time, given that the world is changing, technological progress requires updating views and finding answers to new challenges.

“As a result of the joint efforts of the WHO member states, international organizations, the academic community, a new Declaration on primary health care has been prepared. Its adoption will set the direction for the development of primary health care as the basis of the health system of any country. The new declaration reflects the commitments of states, people and communities, health systems and partners in achieving health for all through sustainable primary care,” said Sagintayev, expressing confidence that the Global Conference in Astana will provide answers to a wide range of issues. Kazakhstan is open to dialogue and ready to interact.

Later in the course of the plenary session, a representative of the Archbishop Francis Chullikat made a speech with the Appeal of His Holiness Pope Francis; Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Health of Nepal Upendra Yadav; WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore; European Commissioner for Health and Food Security Vytenis Andriukaitis and others addressed the meeting.

Following the delegates' speeches, the ceremony of adopting the Astana Declaration “An All-Governmental Approach to Promoting Primary Health Care Towards Universal Health Care Coverage” took place.

The adoption of the Astana Declaration will make it possible to determine the development of the primary health care system in the twenty-first century around the world as the basis of the health system of any country through which universal health coverage and health for all can be achieved. The new Declaration will reflect the commitments of states, people and communities, health systems and partners in achieving health for all through sustainable primary health care. Further, the issue of primary health care and universal coverage is planned to be put forward for a high-level meeting at the UN General Assembly at the level of heads of state in September 2019.

The event continued with planar meetings and sessions with the participation of ministers of health, finance, economics, education, the environment and heads of international organizations. In addition, the conference program includes such events as side events, discussion sessions and exhibitions.

It should be noted that a number of additional events were organized within the framework of the conference. These are the summit of mayors of the WHO European Network of Healthy Cities in Almaty, a youth forum at the Nazarbayev University, Walk the Talk, the hackathon and the IT in Healthcare exhibition at the National Museum in Astana.

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