Speech of UNRC Ozonnia Ojielo at Development Dialogue III
Strengthening Health Emergency Preparedness and Readiness to Advance Health Security in the Kyrgyz Republic
Your Excellency Madamim Musaevich, Deputy Minister of Health and all the various experts and colleagues from the Ministry of Health,
All the colleagues and experts from the Ministry of Emergency Situations,
Dr. Sohail Naqvi, the Rector of the University of Central Asia, our critical partners at the Institute of Public Policy and Administration and other colleagues at the university,
My dearest colleagues from the UN system,
Two of our heads of agencies are here from WHO and UNAIDS and the entire UN system here is fully represented by many colleagues from the UN agencies. Other experts from different fields – colleagues from the civil society, ladies and gentlemen,
Together with the statement of the Deputy Minister of Health I associate myself in welcoming all of us to this third Development Dialogue on Strengthening Health Emergency Preparedness and Readiness, so that we can advance health security in the Kyrgyz Republic. And as Dr. Mogilevskii said, this is the third in the series of multi-stakeholder dialogues on issues that are crucial for the Kyrgyz Republic.
We call them wicked problems – the wicked development problems – because they provide complexity. They are much more than an institution of government, they require coherent, coordinated and integrated approaches, and this is one such case, as you mentioned, honourable Deputy Minister of Health.
So, this initiative between the United Nations system and the University of Central Asia’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration, is to support evidence-based policymaking for government, so we adjust instruments for the use of national authorities.
We join our capacities to bring the best possible expertise, to help inform policy discussions among experts and national partners on the technical level and these discussions are then escalated to various forms of decision making in government, the various cabinet committees or sub-committees, other structures of government, where the decisions are made and once those decisions are made, our job as the university and the United Nations system is then to support various national partners and institutions in implementing the outcomes of these conversations.
Through this Dialogue we continue our policy support so that all the long-term approaches that enable inter-related dimensions of sustainable development are addressed, but ensuring that the underlying forces, those immortal words in the Sustainable Development Goals declaration of leaving no one behind, of bringing the furthest first so that they can be included as well, of applying multi-stakeholder approaches but also boosting implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
That is our intention to continue to work with stakeholders so that discussions and the exchange of inputs here reflect in coherent and concrete policy action so that we increase, as the Kyrgyz Republic would get better in our policy coordination not just in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals but also in the implementation of the National Programme “Unity. Trust. Creation”, as well as in the sectorial strategies.
Talking about sectoral strategies, I think it’s important to acknowledge the leadership of the Ministry of Health, the forward-looking momentum in developing a health strategy and looking at universal health coverage for the Kyrgyz Republic, but also signing on the global initiative on universal health coverage.
Kyrgyzstan is a leader in this region, for which it got recognized at the United Nations general assembly last year – on issues around universal health coverage. We think that your participation here – ministries and all the various experts – civil society partners is important, because we need to leverage the best expertise available for us to share opinions and therefore, to establish fruitful discussions, because Kyrgyzstan deserves that we work differently.
All the institutions of government and all the partners, including the United Nations system and the academia, including the University of Central Asia should get away from siloed thinking, with thinking in an integrated and coordinated way to improve policy coherence and to contribute to establishing a platform for integrated policy formulation and implementation in the Kyrgyz Republic.
When we discuss health emergency preparedness we are working towards advancing health security. Honourable Deputy Minister, you will highlight that the Kyrgyz Republic is exposed to significant natural hazards, it has also experienced conflict in its recent history.
We do acknowledge that the Kyrgyz Republic has also made good progress in strengthening health emergency capacities but we also do know, just like every other country, we have gaps and there are systems we need to improve.
Extending assets to universal health coverage and strengthening health emergency capacities are both targets under the Sustainable Development Goal 3, which is about ensuring healthy lifestyles and promoting well-being at all ages. The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Goal 3 will be measured by how we implement the core capacities of the International Health Regulations and we’ll be looking at the International Health Regulations during the discussion that will follow.
We know that when we strengthen these capacities, the Kyrgyz Republic is then assisted to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, such as reducing poverty and reducing inequality, ensuring sustainable economic growth and promoting social justice.
Health emergency capacities and universal health coverage are two sides of the same coin. When we strengthen our health emergency capacity we improve the resilience of our health system, and when we strengthen our health system, we improve the capacity to be prepared and to respond to emergencies, which means that through universal health care people can access life saving services when they need them most, and that includes in emergency situations.
We know that many health emergencies can be prevented or at least mitigated. But this happens only when countries are prepared. So we see fewer deaths and so far less economic disruption, and this means that indirect financial cost of an emergency health system becomes lower and those resources can then be transferred to other areas of need.
WHO has put out some recent statistics that shows that when we invest in health emergency capacities we get the best value for money in terms of investment in the health sector. For example, for every dollar we spent on these capacities, we get a return 8 times over – 8.30 dollars. For all of us it means that when we strengthen the health emergency capacities, there is a massive public investment that helps the Kyrgyz Republic meet the Sustainable Development Goals but also helps us meet the WHO standards and shows that our leaders are showing leadership but also commitment to the national development agenda.
So what does it mean for us to improve our efforts in developing emergency preparedness and readiness in the Kyrgyz Republic? How can we better coordinate the work of line ministries, government agencies, health, and emergency institutions, development partners, researchers and civil society, so we can ensure better health coverage, including at times of emergencies? These are the questions that are waiting for us to answer today.
As I always say, I am not the expert, I’m just privileged to be the spokesperson of the UN system and to leverage the totality of the expertise of the UN system to support our national partners in addressing these wicked development problems, so I join the Deputy Minister Madamin Musaevich, and I join Professor Naqvi in welcoming all of us and I’m also looking forward to the excellent discussion that I’m sure will take place, and then taking the outcome of those discussions to the public decision-making, policy decision-making spaces where government will be the final implementor and approver of this recommendations.