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.”
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.
JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.
This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.
“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.
This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.
“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.
UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.
In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.
This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.
Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”
Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”
UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.
Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.
“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.
The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.
President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.
While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.