Universal Health Coverage ensures everyone can obtain the care they need when they need it in the heart of their community without suffering financially. At least half of the world’s population don’t have access to full coverage of essential healthcare services. 100 million people are still being pushed into extreme poverty due to health care bills, whilst over 800 million people are spending at least 10% of their household budget to access the right healthcare.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) sets out to campaign for more access to primary health care across the globe, develop people’s understanding of universal health coverage and call on world leaders to make quality healthcare to be easily accessible.
“Health is a human right; it’s time for health for all”
Having access to quality healthcare is essential in the promotion of good health, prevention and treatment for illnesses, rehabilitation and palliative care. For many communities across the world, being able to access quality health services to support themselves and their families is still an issue, with many travelling far just to see a doctor or being put into financial strain to pay for a visit. Some families must make the choice of buying necessities such as food or clothes or selling possessions in order to pay for healthcare. For some, they avoid it altogether, and risk further illnesses, disease or even death so they can continue to provide for their families.
WHO wants everyone to have the same access to primary health care, where ever they live and whatever their financial state is.
“Good health allows children to learn and adults to earn, help people escape from poverty, and provides the basis for long-term economic development.”
The World Health Organisation wants to put in place Universal Health Coverage to enable people the ability to access quality services that would improve their health. It would protect people against financial consequences of paying for healthcare, reducing the risk of being pushed into poverty.
The most efficient and cost-effective way to achieve Universal Health Coverage around the world is with Primary Health Care. This is centred around the needs and circumstances of individuals, their families and the local community. It addresses comprehensive and interrelated physical, mental and social health and wellbeing, providing whole-person care for health care to last a lifetime.
In December 2018, a pilot programme for Universal Health Coverage was set up in Kenya. Hundreds of people were trained as community health volunteers to support the delivery of education, promotive and preventive health care at a community level. This pilot programme has already allowed mothers to safely give birth, without the risk of financial strain. They are also demonstrating different levels of healthcare with dispensary centres where more advanced health services are given.
In order for Universal Health Coverage to be a reality across the world, WHO is calling on world leaders and policymakers to strengthen the health systems already in place. They are asking the general public to talk to their local healthcare workers and get the information and support they need to take care of their own health and their families, and to call on the leaders to make health for all a reality.
WHO are also asking healthcare providers to deliver high-quality health advice and services to support more people, and empower their patients or clients to take care of their own health. Providing access to skills and training opportunities for health workers to enhance their knowledge allows communities to have access to a professional team of doctors, nurses and carers.
To find out more about World Health Day and how the World Health Organisations supports the global healthcare industry, please visit their website here.