General Practitioners hold Annual General Meeting

The Samoa Association of General Practitioners (S.A.G.P.) hosted its 19th Annual General Meeting Saturday at the Hotel Elisa in Apia.

The theme for this year’s conference was "universal health coverage in general practice" with the Associate Minister of Health, Tofa Li’o Foleni, amongst its guest speakers.

According to the Associate Minister, universal health coverage (U.H.C.) is defined as ensuring that all people have access to needed health services (including prevention, promotion, treatment, rehabilitation and palliation) and that it is of sufficient quality to be effective.

The health services provided under universal health coverage should also ensure the members of the public do not foot any extra costs. 

Universal health coverage has become a major goal for health reform in many countries and is a priority objective of the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.), the Associate Minister added. 

“The universal health coverage embodies three related objectives: equity in access to health services: those who need the services should get them, not only those who can pay for them; that the equality of health services is good enough to improve the health of those receiving services; and financial-risk protection — ensuring that the cost of using care does not put people at risk of financial hardship,” he said.

According to Tofa,  good health is essential to sustained economic and social development and poverty reduction.

“Access to needed health services is crucial for maintaining and improving health. At the same time, people need to be protected from being pushed into poverty because of the cost health care.

“The U.H.C. covers three dimension population (who is covered?), services (which service are covered?) and quality and cost (how much of the cost is covered?).

“It means that everyone can get the health services they need, at good quality - It requires coverage with key interventions that address the most important causes of morbidity and mortality. This includes an effective response to NCDs, mental disorders and injuries,” he added.

The Associate Minister also stated that it includes promotion, prevention, rehabilitation and palliative care in addition to treatment and those who seek those services should not pay extra costs for the health services.

“It's about getting more health for the money as much as getting more money for health, regardless of their income level.

“The primary healthcare approach that Samoa has been world renowned for is the strategy that is scientifically proven, to be the most cost-effective and successful way to achieve UHC.

“Working closely as one health sector across all communities with community leaders; government sector partners, non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisations, community based organisations, the business community and definitely and surely, with the private medical sector; this will contribute significantly in a strong Primary Health Care Service in Samoa,” he added. 

The S.A.G.P. president, Motuopua’a Dr. Aisoli Vaai, said that it is the Government’s mission and dream that the health of the people is in sync with the objectives and goals of the association. 

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