Sao Tome: Portugal to contribute €5.08M to improve access to health care

Portugal is to contribute €5.08 million towards improving universal access to quality health care for the population of Sao Tome and Principe, under the existing ‘Health for All’ programme, which is now being extended to 2025.

Expenditure on the fifth phase of ‘Health for All – Consolidation of the National Health System of Sao Tome and Principe 2022-2025’ programme was approved last week by the West African country’s cabinet, and is to be carried out by Portugal’s Camões – Institute for Cooperation and Language.

In a written response to Lusa, the Camões explained that the previous phase of the programme, which ran from 2017 to 2021, “aimed to contribute to strengthening and improving the response capacity of the National Health Service (SNS) of Sao Tome and Principe, fostering the availability of specialised healthcare and sustainable and quality telemedicine.”

The five-year action was based, on the one hand, on specialised care and maintenance of the system of remote medicine in operation at the Ayres Menezes Hospital and specialits training, and, on the other, on preventive care, primary care and national programmes.

The project, whose local partners were Ministry of Health of Sao Tome, as beneficiary entity, and the Marquês de Valle Flor Association, as executor, had overall funding of €4.85 million, financed by Camões and Portugal’s national health authority, the DGS.

In the new phase now approved, the Camões wants to contribute “to universal access of the population of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe to quality health care.”

The stated priorities are fostering the “quality and growing autonomy of the provision of preventive, primary and specialised health care” and strengthening the capacity of the Sao Tome health service to respond to new epidemiological challenges, with a focus on non-communicable diseases.

This fifth phase is to have increased funding, to the tune of €5.08 million, also funded by Camões and the DGS, through the same local partners.

According to the institute, the programme aims to foster efficiency in health sector management and financial sustainability, improve the technical and material conditions of the country’s preventive and primary healthcare network, and increase the access of the population to specialised quality healthcare, both in person and remotely.

It also aims to empower health professionals to be more autonomous in providing specialised care, as well as strengthen the local capacity to prevent, control, diagnose and treat non-communicable diseases.