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Countries Commit to Improving Primary Health Care, Starting with Better Data

New Vital Signs Profiles provide country-by-country snapshot of primary health care, enabling leaders to identify problem areas and make improvements over time


This week, on the sidelines of the Global Conference on Primary Health Care, countries from around the world joined the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative to launch the Vital Signs Profiles, which provide a snapshot of the strength of primary health care in low- and middle-income countries.


The Vital Signs Profiles offer a more complete picture of the state of primary health care in different countries than ever before, providing insights into where systems are strong and where they can be improved. The Vital Signs Profile helps answer several key questions on primary health care systems:

  • Financing: How much money does the country spend on primary health care?
  • Capacity: Does the country have policies that prioritize primary health care? Does the system have enough drugs, supplies and health care providers?
  • Performance: Are people able to get the care they need, without financial or geographic barriers standing in the way? Is the care people receive of high quality?
  • Equity: Does the system reach the most marginalized people in society?

PHCPI – a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank Group and World Health Organization, in collaboration with Ariadne Labs and Results for Development – developed the Vital Signs Profiles to help policymakers, donors, advocates and citizens better understand and ultimately improve primary health care. Governments and donors can use each Vital Signs Profile to identify priority areas for improvement, track and trend progress over time, and ultimately improve primary health care. Advocates and citizens can use the Vital Signs Profile to hold leaders accountable and call for specific financing or policy reforms.


“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – primary health care is the most important step that countries can take toward achieving health for all,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “With the data and insights that the Vital Signs Profiles provide, countries can understand where their systems are weak and take concrete steps to improve them.”


More and Better Data Needed to Improve Primary Health Care

Today, half the world’s population still lacks access to essential health services, the majority of which can be delivered through strong primary health care. Primary care is a person’s first and main point of contact with the health system, and connects people with trusted health care providers who can meet most of their health needs throughout their lives.


Recognizing the importance of primary health care, policymakers, donors, advocates and partners from around the world are coming together this week for the Global Conference on Primary Health Care in Astana, Kazakhstan to sign a new declaration committing them to strengthen primary health care as the foundation of health for all.

“Strengthening the front lines of the health system to ensure universal health coverage is a great investment,” said Dr. Tim Evans, Senior Director of Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Group. “It promotes good health, saves lives and builds human capital – the foundation of inclusive economic growth and an accelerator for poverty reduction.”

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Botswana approves extradition of British fugitive

20th March 2023

Raiz Ahmed Tayub, a British fugitive sought by Interpol for his involvement in human trafficking and slave trade crimes, was captured by the Botswana Police Service (BPS) earlier this year.

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BOCRA detects new cyber attacks targeted at Botswana

20th March 2023

Government owned communications regulator, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) recently detected several cyber-attacks targeted at national information and communications infrastructure, companies and home routers in this country.

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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP

17th March 2023

As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.

Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.

Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our country’s Southern Region. “The Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,” he said.

He made a special appeal to the PAP:  “Where I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, “mzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.” Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.”

Mikiya continued: “Yes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.”

According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.

As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.

The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as “a league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabit”.

Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.

Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing “positive” inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.

He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.

“Alone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, “One Africa, One Voice.” Mikiya concluded.

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