Universal Health Coverage Day, marked on every 12th December, calls on leaders to accelerate efforts towards building a safe, healthier future. It is intended to raise awareness of the urgent need to build strong and resilient health systems, ensuring every country progresses towards universal health coverage (UHC). UHC ensures that every person has access to quality health services whenever needed without facing financial hardship.
Leaders need to show aspiring, actionable commitments on UHC. This means making smarter investments in health, where a full range of essential health services, including health prevention, promotion and treatment are accessible to everyone. All populations, regardless of where they live and their socioeconomic status, must be reached and covered, and assured access to quality essential services.
The main concepts of UHC include (1) population coverage – supporting equitable access to quality healthcare services,(2) service coverage – offering the full spectrum of essential quality health services, and (3) financial protection – ensuring there are no financial barriers to access, and any out-of-pocket health spending is not a source of financial suffering.
The COVID-19 pandemic proved the importance of strong and resilient health systems. This includes having UHC, so that everyone, everywhere can have access to care in face of crisis and new threats to population health.
In recent news, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission agreed on reinforcing a decade-long collaboration to continue making steps towards UHC.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said,“COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating evidence that Universal Health Coverage is the foundation to resilience and sustainable development for all. That's true for individuals and families confronting a life-threatening illness, and it's true for countries – and the whole world – in the face of epidemics and pandemics(WHO, 2022)”.
This particular date hopes to encourage global collaboration, capitalising on the strengths of stakeholders to support the global movement towards UHC.
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