Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director-WHO South-East Asia Region, on Thursday urged member countries to maintain essential health and accelerate resumption of disrupted health-care services, hit by the pandemic, as an integral part of the Covid-19 response.
In a virtual meeting with Ministers of Health from the Region, Dr Singh said, “We must fast track efforts and do all we can to avoid that happening, while continuing efforts to break Covid-19 transmission chains.”
“We must strengthen our evidence and knowledge base on how essential services can be maintained. We must continue to innovate, accelerate our efforts to sustain our gains while sharing our experiences and learning and adapting policies to suit local contexts and transmission scenarios,” Dr Singh said.
“Our challenge is indeed immense, but I am certain that together we can ensure that all people can access the services they need to stay healthy and productive throughout the pandemic and beyond,” she maintained.
The Regional Director said that the emergence and spread of Covid-19 has reiterated the critical importance of building strong primary health care systems able to withstand acute events while continuing to provide the services required to meet most people’s needs.
Across the Region, family planning, antenatal care and institutional childbirth services have been reduced significantly, impacting our capacity to accelerate reductions in maternal and neonatal mortality, she added.