The Universal Health Coverage is indispensable to protect all people, leaving no one behind
By the editorial team – on the occasion of the Universal Health Coverage Day on 12 December, Dianova would like to join in the global call to action to emphasize the need to design and implement strong, equitable, and resilient health systems that leave no one behind.
The dramatic crisis that unfolded this year has proved the pressing need to implement the Universal Health Coverage (UHC). This year’s campaign, whose motto is “Health for all: Protect everyone”, focusses on prioritizing investments in strong health systems that protect everyone. And it should both be a long term investment and an emergency now. To achieve the UHC, it is essential that political and financial commitments should be made now, rather than waiting until the end of this crisis.
In order to provide some context, here is some data from the World Health Organization.
Did you know that…?
- At least half of the world’s population do not have full coverage of essential health services;
- About 100 million people are still being pushed into extreme poverty (defined as living on 1.90 USD or less a day) because they have to pay for health care;
- Around 12% of the world’s population spend at least 10% of their household budgets to pay for health care.
Strong and prepared health systems
This data cannot leave anyone indifferent, and even more if one takes into account that it was published before the COVID-19 crisis, and that today, this data is expected to be even more worrisome.
UHC is about ensuring that people all over the world have access to the quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship. It covers a full spectrum of essential health services, including health promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.
Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that a strong UHC by itself is not a guarantee of success. It must be accompanied by health systems that are not only strong but also well prepared for such emergencies as the current crisis that, surprisingly, have all but overwhelmed countries with notoriously efficient health systems. Lastly, the Universal Health Coverage should take into account the various cross-cutting factors that affect health.
UHC, a part of the Sustainable Development Goals
UHC is not a new concept. In 2012, a historic resolution was signed at the United Nations calling all countries to accelerate the progress towards UHC as an essential priority for international development. Since 2014, the UHC International Day has been celebrated, and was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2017.
Achieving UHC is one of the goals of the Sustainable Development Goals – 3.8 – Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.
Furthermore, as with many targets in the Sustainable Development Goals, it is interrelated. In other words, achieving the UHC will allow for progress towards other goals related to health and other issues. Another historic milestone took place in 2019, when the High-Level meeting on UHC was organized and resulted in the signing of an ambitious declaration, which is now being monitored.
The commitment and progress towards UHC are measurable and in fact, the UHC 2030 movement, the multi-stakeholder platform that seeks to strengthen health systems in order to achieve UHC, has recently published a report detailing the status of commitment towards UHC and monitors as well the data per country.
CALL TO ACTION
Dianova joins the call to action to achieve the UHC, not only on December 12, but every day. The times when people and economies are suffering the most are precisely those in which we should invest more, and more smartly, to achieve high quality health systems that protect lives.