Addressing equal access to preventive care in Tunisia

March 30, 2017

By Dr. Amna Khalfaoui

As a member of the Tunisian Association for Defending the Right to Health, Dr. Amna Khalfaoui plans to travel from North Africa to attend this year’s Dialogue for Action® conference.

Dr. Khalfaoui is this week’s guest blog contributor. She discusses what challenges Tunisia faces to improving health care and what she’s most looking to take home with her from this year’s Dialogue.

As a public health professional from Tunisia, I am interested in equal access to health care in my country. Tunisia is still struggling to build a health system that offers the best, evidence-based health care to all.  At the Tunisian Association for Defending the Right to Health, we are focused on cancer prevention as well as advocating for the right to curative medicine.

The high rates of cancer are a real challenge for us, as cancer is the third most common cause of death after traffic accidents and coronary diseases in Tunisia. According to the Ministry of Health’s most recent statistics, 16 percent of all deaths in Tunisia are related to cancer. This figure, along with the high cost of health care and lost productivity as a result of cancer, is creating a real economic and social burden in Tunisia.

Despite article 38 of the post-revolution constitution proclaiming health as a human right and highlighting the obligation of the government to ensure preventive and curative access to all, this is still far from reality.

The Tunisian Association for Defending the Right to Health was formed by health professionals with a long history and rich experience in public health. Together we play the much-needed roles of watchdogs and outspoken advocates for health rights. The Association collaborates with national and international organizations in the same fields or with common interests to exchange ideas and learn new ways of thinking.

This is precisely the reason that we have a big interest in participating in the 2017 Dialogue for Action®. We plan to enact a better program for cancer screening and prevention. The types of cancer discussed at the Dialogue are some of the most prevalent and deadly in our country.

We look forward to sharing our experiences and challenges to improving access to health care and learning about other attendees’ experiences.

We want to build a stronger and more reliable health care system for Tunisia with the best policies to meet the population’s needs. Our plan is to work hard on this goal by turning new knowledge we gain from the Dialogue into action back home.

 

About 2017 Dialogue for Action®

Each year the Dialogue brings together key stakeholders from clinical and public health settings to share effective strategies to improve cancer prevention and early detection. Come dialogue with your peers from around the world and hear from speakers who are shaping the fields of cancer screening and prevention, health equity, technology, big data and more.

Register today!
April 19-21, 2017
Hilton McLean Tysons Corner
McLean, Va.

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