Universal Health Coverage Day 2017
By admin December 19, 2017

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In a new report released by the World Health Organization and the World Bank, more than half of the world’s population cannot obtain basic health services. The findings, released in “Tracking Universal Health Coverage: 2017 Global Monitoring Report,” indicate that over 800 million people spend minimally 10 percent of their household budgets on health expenses for themselves, children, or family members.

In a statement given by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, he said “It is completely unacceptable that half the world still lacks coverage for the most essential health services. And it is unnecessary. A solution exists: universal health coverage (UHC) allows everyone to obtain the health services they need, when and where they need them, without facing financial hardship.” For nearly 100 million people, medical and healthcare expenses in developing countries are high enough to push them into extreme poverty, forcing them to survive on just USD $1.90 or less per day. “The report makes clear that if we are serious – not just about better health outcomes, but also about ending poverty – we must urgently scale up our efforts on universal health coverage,” said Dr. Jim Young Kim, World Bank Group President.

Even in the slow progress, however, the report does show that the 21st century has witnessed an increase in the number of individuals able to receive health services, like immunizations and family planning. Still, progress for the most part is still relatively uneven and uncertain, especially in low-resource countries. Particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, though basic health care services are becoming more available, lack of financial stability causes much uncertainty about figuring out how to afford these services. “The system is broken: we need a fundamental shift in the way we mobilize resources for health and human capital, especially at the country level. We are working on many fronts to help countries spend more and more effectively in people, and increase their progress towards universal health coverage,” said Dr. Kim.

The Universal Health Coverage Forum 2017, currently taking place in Tokyo, Japan, is strengthening discussions surrounding the implications of the report. The Forum, convened by the Government of Japan and co-sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, has in attendance Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, World Bank President Kim, WHO Director-General Tedros, and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake as well as several heads of state and ministers.

A commitment to action during the Forum is the launch of the Tokyo Declaration on Universal Health Coverage, set to be released during the closing ceremony. The Forum began on December 12th, Universal Health Coverage Day, in order to showcase commitment to UHC at international levels. Insights from the global report will be used to highlight country-specific experiences on UHC progress and to the general public knowledge base on how to strengthen health systems.

As details of the declaration are released, the full report and coverage of the forum can be found here.

Related Readings:

World Bank and WHO: Half the world lacks access to essential health services, 100 million still pushed into extreme poverty because of health expenses

Universal Health Coverage Forum 2017 “Tokyo Declaration on Universal Health Coverage: All Together to Accelerate Progress towards UHC”

Universal Health Coverage Forum kicks off in Tokyo
Opinion: Yes, we can reach every child with accessible, quality care

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