Participants of People’s forum of the Commonwealth 2022 suggest that increasing the taxes on the rich individuals and companies is an option that should be considered to finance public health facilities and development in Commonwealth member States.
“The importance of financing goes back to the word solidarity. In financing, this is where we find solidarity. The reason why some countries fail to reach these financing goals is that they fail to realize that solidarity context. You cannot have resilient health facilities unless you use public financing, and that means government taxation or mandatory social insurance,” Dr. Ravi Rannan-Eliya, Executive Director &fellow of the Insititute of Health Policy, Sri Lanka said.
“This context requires taking money from the better off to provide services for the vulnerable, and that’s an expression of social solidarity. Unless countries are willing to do that, they cannot achieve universal resilient health facilities. That’s is the uncomfortable truth.”
Dr. Rannan-Eliya said that countries that had better health policies and resilient facilities did better during the Covid-19 pandemic because the rich were much indoctrinated to help the poor people get the drugs which was a big concern.
He added that countries should make sure the value of solidarity can be inculcated in the health sector system.
The observation was made during the discussions on lessons learned in the Covid-19 pandemic in the world and establishing the resilient health facilities in the Commonwealth member’s countries.
Today, the People’s forum aimed at discussing the fragility and inequality of many national health systems, and the incapacity of international systems and institutions to provide practical support.
It also targeted discussing the effects of climate change being felt throughout the Commonwealth member states. It was reported that some member countries are experiencing global warming as a direct and immediate threat to their economies, their communities, and their way of life.
The forum wanted to amplify voices that will lead to building meaningful solidarity to protect their interests.
According to participants, countries seek to respond to the health and economic effects of recent crises, and debt is surging to record levels, with Low-and Middle-income countries, especially vulnerable. Their capacity to fund strong health systems, and to respond to the impacts of climate change, is increasingly constrained.
“You cannot look at health in isolation. You have to look at it with interconnected factors that contribute to being healthy. If you look at the social issues people deal with; food shortage, poor housing, stunting, there are going to be vulnerable to health challenges,” Professor Senait Fisseha, Director of International Programs at the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation said.
“In Rwanda, during the Covid-19 pandemic, there was aggressive testing and lockdowns. There is the value of human life and the lesson of being each other’s keeper, communities were contributing to provide food to those who were less fortunate and doctors going to communities,” she added.
According to Professor Fisseha, countries that did well were those that focused on the community level not waiting for the person who gets sick and then showing up at the health facility.