Today, 12 December 2016, marks the third Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, an event organised by the World Health Organization and partners dedicated to ensuring that everyone in the world can access the health services they need without suffering financial hardship.
Achieving this requires global political commitment and world leaders are called on to ‘act with ambition’ to build on the momentum already in place. In September 2015 UHC was made a crucial part of the Sustainable Development Goals which the United Nation’s 193 member states have already signed up to achieving by 2030.
A key message of UHC Day is that to defeat the global epidemics of diseases such as tuberculosis we must ensure that everyone has access to the healthcare they need and we must prioritise the poorest and most marginalised. This is not only in recognition of the fundamental human right to health but is an essential component of development that also makes economic and political sense: resilient, accessible health systems for all promote healthy populations, which lead in turn to healthy economies and help to ensure global security.
To achieve UHC, we must improve primary health care systems—people’s first and main source of care. Currently more than half of the costs for primary health care are paid out of pocket, leading to debt and poverty and discouraging people from seeking the care they need. We must reach the poorest first, and we must use data to inform and influence our approach and maximise the efficiency of the systems in place, we must measure what matters.
Health for all is achievable but it requires continued political determination and action. On UHC Day we can all do our part in guaranteeing this. For ideas on how, there is a digital toolkit that you can download to get started:
Download: Digital Toolkit (PDF 562 KB)