Press Release

Working jointly is the fastest way to improve health services for all

28 March 2022

SKOPJE| 28 March 2022 – How to improve health services and make them available and accessible to all people was at the focus of the discussions on the closing event for the Joint Programme “Safe and Innovative Health Services in Times of COVID-19 in North Macedonia” that happened today in Skopje.

Representatives of the UN family, health workers and representatives and of many national partners involved gathered to discuss lessons learned from the Joint Programme, which was implemented by three UN agencies, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO, in coordination with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, and funded by the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.,

Participants of the event also discussed how to reach groups that may have been left behind in health services, improve preventive care in remote and underserved areas, how to strengthen immunisation, utilize digitalisation to ensure accessibility of the health services for all.

“This programme was established to enable fast and innovative response to emerging needs stemming out of COVID-19 and we are happy to be among very few in the world that managed to get funding from the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund”, says Patrizia DiGiovanni, UN Resident Coordinator ad interim. “The program enabled free life-saving services for the people, particularly women and girls, living in underserved areas to whom provision of such services was disrupted or postponed due to COVID 19 pandemic and it should serve as a model for many future activities and investments in the health sector, aiming not only to save life, but to increase quality of life and improve outcomes for all people in the country.”

“Safe and Innovative Health Services in Times of COVID-19 in North Macedonia” is a joint programme that helped the government improve essential health services within the context of COVID-19 by building on the significant investments already made to strengthen the national health and social systems, contain disease outbreaks, and ensure health responses to various emergencies.

The programme has introduced several innovative health services, such as the mobile gynaecological clinics visits to remote areas, including e-immunisation registry that aims to improve data collection and the calculation of immunization coverage rates, and risk communication to immunization-sceptic populations as well as awareness raising among women and girls of sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence. These improved services address the significant decrease in their provision since the outbreak of COVID-19 and enable more efficient real time collection of policy relevant data on immunization while also contributing to greater professional and public support for vaccination.

The programme targets vulnerable women, adolescent girls and children, particularly those living in remote areas of the country, who would benefit from sexual and reproductive health services, immunization and psycho-social support. The implementation of the programme started in January 2021 and ends now at the end of March 2022, with a budget of $850,000.

The programme is jointly implemented by three UN agencies in close partnership with key national partners including the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, e-Health Directorate, Association of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians, Committee on Safe Motherhood and Healthy New-borns, Macedonian Medical Association, Macedonian Association of Nurses and Midwives, University Clinic of Psychiatry and civil society organizations.

This joint programme is made possible thanks to the contributions to the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund by the governments of Norway, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Republic of Korea, Finland, Austria, United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand, United States of America, Iceland, Croatia, Portugal, Thailand, Slovak Republic, Romania, Cambodia, Cyprus and Philippines.

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Aleksandar Dimishkovski

Aleksandar Dimishkovski

Communications and Advocacy Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Population Fund
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Health Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative