07 April, 2018 – In honor of World Health Day, the World Health Organisation is focusing on Universal Health Coverage. Daphne Teo, WCPUN Global Health Correspondent, explains:
The World Health Organization (WHO) is a key agency of the United Nations driving global health, and the constitution of the organization came into force on 7 April 1948. 70 years after its founding, the overarching WHO message for this year is: extending Universal Health Coverage to all is the best way to achieving Sustainable Development Goals #3: Ensure the health lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is about ensuring that people have access to the health care they need without suffering financial hardship. It also helps drive better health and development outcomes. A report released in 2017 jointly by the WHO and the World Bank entitled, “Tracking Universal Health Coverage: 2017 Global Monitoring Report,” showed that 50% of the world’s population cannot obtain essential health services. Moreover, 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets. In 2018, the WHO is planning to galvanize the health sector, countries, development partners, civil society and the private sector toward the common goal of Universal Health Coverage, and continue to highlight country success and breakthrough experiences to accelerate the progress of Universal Health Coverage. Universal health coverage 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. With that in mind, the WHO emphasizes that countries will be empowered to develop their own tailored roadmaps towards Universal Health Coverage via country-led models of development finance that can bring together multiple sources of financing to support countries’ priorities. On December 12, 2018, the International Universal Health Coverage Day will be the culmination point to assess how far countries are progressing towards achieving Universal Health Coverage, followed by a high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage in 2019 by the United Nations General Assembly.