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Morocco: Government Vows to Improve Health Sector

Morocco: Government Vows to Improve Health Sector

Tuesday, 28 May, 2019 - 10:00
Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Eddine el-Othmani delivers his first speech presenting the government's program at the Moroccan Parliament in Rabat, Morocco (Reuters)

Health services in Morocco are still below expectations, however, the government vows to improve them, asserted Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani.

Othmani reported that the health sector needs a profound reform of its system with a strategic perspective on various issues, particularly governance.

Speaking during a parliamentary hearing session, the PM asked the deputies to be fair and refrain from negativity, which will not lead to any achievement in this sector.

The PM pointed out that his government has given the health sector special importance in the government program and raised the budget of the health sector to $1.6 billion in 2019, a 16 percent increase compared to 2016. This budget has improved in an unprecedented manner in the last 12 years, he said.

He explained that the biggest approach to reforming the health system was through basic health coverage, as it would make it possible to reduce expenditures on families. Health coverage reached 60 percent after it was 33 percent in the previous period.

Othmani pointed out that the health coverage will increase through a number of procedures, with the first batch of cards to be issued before the end of 2019.

The PM also announced that the coverage workshops will expand to include immigrants and refugees in the future.

To address the issues with the health sector, Othmani said the government prepared a national plan to develop the health sector in the year 2025. The plan was prepared according to “participatory approach”, in which it consulted with partners and those concerned with the national health issue.

This led to a roadmap founded on six basic principles: quality of services, equal access to these services, solidarity and interdependence, continuity and proximity, performance and efficiency, then responsibility and accountability.

For their part, a number of deputies discussed the issues of the health sector including the lack of doctors, saying there are 3.5 doctors in the public and private sectors for every 18,000 persons, while the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the number should be 13 doctors per 18,000.

On Saturday, members of the semi-banned Islamist al-Adl Wa al-Ihssane group staged protests in front of a number of mosques in the eastern city of Oujda to denounce the authorities' ban on their seclusion at the mosques.

The group said that the public forces stormed four mosques in Oujda and “violently evicted those who were reciting the Book of Allah, and forced them to leave the mosque.”

The group’s spokesman Hasan Panaji reported that the authorities banned all citizens who visit these mosques for seclusion, and members of al-Adl Wa al-Ihssane are part of these citizens.

He warned that closing the mosques means the government is incapable of performing its duty in protecting people’s right to seclusion in the mosque.

The authorities believe that the opposing al-Adl Wa al-Ihssane group uses the mosques and houses to hold unauthorized public gatherings.

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