ZIMBABWE has encouraged the global telecommunications industry to come up with a clear roadmap of achieving universal health coverage and to take stock of the fact that some countries do not have the infrastructure to achieve the objective.
Members of the International Telecommunications Union agreed to improve universal health coverage and provide strategic opportunities for the full adoption of digital technology in the health sector by 2030.
Speaking at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-17) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Potraz director-general Dr Gift Kallisto Machengete said some countries were still struggling with diseases like malaria, hence a clear roadmap was imperative to achieve the goal.
“There is need for a roadmap. What we know at the moment is that by 2030 we are attempting to achieve universal health coverage.
“There are already some countries which are more or less there because of their economic development, even when we look at Internet coverage its 100 percent. When you look at infrastructure its nearly 100 percent. There are some countries where infrastructure is a big impediment to any access.”
He said in such situations it would be important for the United Nations to look at how they can babysit those lagging behind. It doesn’t help if only a few countries reach universal health coverage for all and yet there are some who cannot even afford three tablets to prevent malaria. In other countries, malaria is nothing to talk about anymore, but in some it is a big killer.”
An ITU director Mr Yushi Torigoe said achieving universal health coverage would transform healthcare. “I strongly believe that universal health is a key to better, more equitable and affordable health care. More and more people are accessing internet from mobile devices and this can foster systematic change and can transform healthcare, even in the most remote and isolated area in the world,” he said.
World telecommunication development conferences (WTDCs) are convened in the period between two Plenipotentiary Conferences to consider topics, projects and programmes relevant to telecommunication development.