This week (April 1 – 7) the world will celebrate World Health Day. #WorldHealthDay is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO), and supported by other related organisations worldwide. This year marks 70 years since the WHO held the First World Health Assembly and so is the 70th anniversary of World Health Day.
This year, the WHO is calling on world leaders to live up to the pledges they made when agreeing on the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, and commit to concrete steps that will ensure implementation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and to advance #HealthForAll. This means ensuring that anyone, anywhere can access essential quality health services without facing financial hardship.
Universal health coverage is about ensuring all people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship.
Following numerous studies, the WHO asserts that countries which invest in universal healthcare will make a “sound investment in their human capital.” Access to a very bottom line of care and financial protection will not only truly improve someone’s health and life expectancy, but also “protect countries from epidemics, reduce poverty and the risk of hunger, create jobs, drive economic growth and enhance gender equality”.
What UHC is
- UHC means that all people and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship.
- UHC enables everyone to access the services that address the most important causes of disease and death and ensures that the quality of those services is good enough to improve the health of the people who receive them.
What UHC is not
- UHC does not mean free coverage for all possible health interventions, regardless of the cost, as no country can provide all services free of charge on a sustainable basis.
- UHC is not only about ensuring a minimum package of health services, but also about ensuring a progressive expansion of coverage of health services and financial protection as more resources become available.
- UHC is not only about medical treatment for individuals, but also includes services for whole populations such as public health campaigns – for example adding fluoride to water or controlling the breeding grounds of mosquitoes that carry viruses that can cause disease.
- UHC is not just about health care and financing the health system of a country. It encompasses all components of the health system: systems and healthcare providers that deliver health services to people, health facilities and communications networks, health technologies, information systems, quality assurance mechanisms and governance and legislation.
World Health Day Resources
Below are some resources that will help explain more about Universal Health Coverage and it’s importance.
World Health Day Information – World Health Organization (WHO) website
An Overview of UHC in under 3 Minutes
What is Universal Health Coverage?
Universal Health Coverage – Is It Possible?
Quiz yourself on your knowledge of Universal Health Coverage and World Health Day.