Dr Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, Health Minister of the Gambia, chaired the meeting

Commonwealth Calls for Resilient Health Systems

By Abdi Ali
Published May 23, 2020

Dr Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, Health Minister of the Gambia, chaired the meetingThe Commonwealth has called for resilient health systems across the world.

The 32nd annual Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting, congregating on May 14, 2020 via video conferencing, agreed to work with finance ministers to promote
sustainable strategies to finance the implementation of universal health coverage with a focus on providing health care to women, the elderly, young people,
marginalised persons and those with mental illness without facing financial difficulty.

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The ministers pledged to keep essential health services running for non-COVID-19 patients with a critical non-communicable or infectious disease while
dealing with an influx of Coronavirus cases.

They backed the need for unified action to recover from the economic turmoil accompanying the pandemic, endorsed removing fees for coronavirus tests and
treatment, and agreed on the need for solidarity and cooperation among Commonwealth countries.

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The 32nd annual Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting congregated on May 14, 2020 via video conferencing“The virus knows no nationality, race, religion, border or economic status. It is an interconnected issue threatening our global health and world economic
order, and should be dealt with as such – guided by a culture of multilateral compassion and cooperation – not competition,” said Patricia Scotland,
Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. “At this critical moment, invigorated by our common pain and concern, Commonwealth countries have come together to
provide the salve we need to deliver a coordinated multilateral response that will help thwart the pandemic and keep our citizens safe.”

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Doing business among the 53 Commonwealth member countries of 2.4 billion people is '19 per cent cheaper than with other countries' due to 'historical ties, long established trading relations, similarities in legal structures and a common language'.Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, Health Minister of the Gambia who chaired the meeting, observed, “Not since the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 2000s has health occupied
such a central position in development policy. With an unprecedented pandemic, straining health systems and halting the global economy, the role of resilient
health systems across the world has come into full focus.”

The fast-spreading virus has contracted economies, shattered income streams and forced millions of people to stay indoors.