Washington, DC, 18 January, 2019 (PAHO/WHO)- Senior staff from the Department of Health Systems and Services, Washington D.C. traveled to the PAHO Office in Georgetown, Guyana where they met with the Minister of Public Health, Honorable Volda Lawrence, to discuss the country’s work programs towards Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage (Universal Health). Also, PAHO/HSS technical advisors from Belize, El Salvador, Haiti, Guyana, Paraguay, and the Eastern Caribbean attended the meeting to examine roadmaps towards Universal Health.

The Minister of Public Health Guyana, Honorable Volda Lawrence, and the PWR of Guyana, Dr. William Adu-Krow, welcomed the team which was led by the Director of Health Systems and Services, Dr. James Fitzgerald. In her welcoming remarks, the Minister presented the health sector's priorities for 2019, specifically to address communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, indigenous health, and the needs of adolescents and the aging, through a national strategy to achieve Universal Health.

Retention and planning of the health workforce, advocacy for increased financing in health, and the expansion of health services were identified as priority areas for future cooperation with Guyana. Dr. Adu-Krow cited notable advances achieved in Guyana’s health services delivery, primary health care, and in the review of the health strategy 2020.

The HSS meeting was convened to examine roadmaps towards Universal Health in focus countries. Each of the countries are benefitting from funding from Japan Government, received through WHO as part of its funding streams. Each of the HSS country advisors presented advances that have been achieved within the broader health systems context in each country, identified challenges and presented their work programs for 2019. 

It’s a big year for the Universal Health Agenda, with the launch of the report of the Commission on Universal Health: 40 years of Alma Ata, and culminating in the adoption of a resolution at the UN General Assembly. Country HSS work programs will provide support to countries to ensure their active participation in the continuing regional movement towards Universal Health.