The World Needs Universal Health Care
Time to heal Global Public Health
Universal Health Care (UHC) refers to providing health care to all individuals and communities without regard to their financial circumstances. It encompasses the whole range of necessary, high-quality health services, from prevention through treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care for people of all ages.
Appropriate and competent health and care professionals with a proper skill mix at the institution, outreach, and community levels, who are equally dispersed, sufficiently supported, and enjoy good work, are required to offer these services.
UHC plans guarantee that everyone has access to services that address the leading causes of disease and death, as well as ensuring that the quality of those services is sufficient to enhance the health of those who receive them.
Protecting people from the financial consequences of paying for health care out of pocket reduces the risk of them being pushed into poverty because an unexpected illness forces them to spend down their life savings, sell assets, or borrow – destroying their futures and, in many cases, the futures of their children.
One of the goals that countries around the globe established when they adopted the SDGs in 2015 was to achieve universal health coverage. At the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on UHC in 2019, countries reiterated their commitment. Countries that make progress toward universal health coverage will make progress toward other health-related aims and goals. Good health allows children to study and adults to work, allowing people to escape poverty and laying the groundwork for long-term economic growth.
As I read through the final Declaration of the 1978 International Conference on #primaryhealthcare (The Alma-Ata Declaration), I'm struck by how similar the fundamental global health challenges identified four decades ago, are to those that are obstructing the fight against epidemics and pandemics like COVID-19.
Even though much has changed in Global Public Health since the conference, the recent development of words like "Vaccine Apartheid" in the global healthcare vocabulary indicates all is not well.
The Conference emphasizes that health is a basic human right, defined as a condition of complete bodily, mental, and social well-being, rather than just the absence of sickness or infirmity. It also emphasizes that achieving the greatest possible level of health is a major global societal objective that, in addition to the health sector, necessitates the participation of many other social and economic sectors.
This is important because Primary Healthcare is founded not just on practical and scientifically sound techniques and technology, but also on socially acceptable approaches that are made available to individuals and families.
Any stakeholder management expert, including myself, will strongly suggest that this sort of involvement entails not only informing the public, but doing it in a meaningful and two-way manner that leads to long-term health development.
Only in this way will the global community be able to make better use of the world's resources to accomplish the objective of "an acceptable level of health for all people on the planet." (Whose initial target was 2000).
Effective Models for Universal Health Care
Many nations experimented with various criteria to ensure that everyone in the community had access to health care. The Mutuelles initiative in Rwanda pioneered community-based health insurance. It allowed participants to utilize medical services on a regular basis, avoiding catastrophic health costs 3.
Thailand's government implemented a universal coverage program that included inpatient, outpatient, preventive, and other healthcare services. Ghana established the National Health Insurance Scheme, which guaranteed financial assistance and service accessibility. 4. Moreover, Vietnam created a Social Health Insurance program. The government provides full subsidies for insurance for poor and disadvantaged communities 4.
All these successful models give us hope that if we try to make things work out, we will be victorious.
How COVID-19 Affected the Global Health System
The epidemic made us realize how linked the globe is. As a result, to control the health problem, it needs fair access to health services and immunizations.
COVAX is a global immunization initiative that aims to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to every country around the globe on an equitable basis. Unfortunately, due to the organization's financial difficulties, this never transpired 5.
Instead, the term Apartheid Vaccine emerged. Therefore, the social and economic sectors must play their role to achieve the goal of Health for All.
Stakeholders' Role in Universal Health Care
Any stakeholder management practitioner, including myself, will strongly suggest that this sort of engagement entails not only informing the public but doing so in a meaningful and two-way manner that leads to long-term health development.
Only in this way will the global community be able to make better use of the world's resources to accomplish the objective of "an acceptable level of health for all people on the planet" (whose initial target was 2000).
The primary health care system relies on community members to participate in the development of health policy. It would ensure the social acceptance of the health system and make the services accessible to individuals and families.
How Technology Can Make Health Services Global
There are currently 6.4 billion smartphone subscriptions in the globe, with that number expected to rise to 7.5 billion by 2026. Businesses, banking, and even taxi reservations have all gone digital. So why not include healthcare services?
We can give immediate information to anybody seeking a diagnosis and link health workers all around the world with universal internet access.
We can quickly obtain records of births, deaths, and illnesses, as well as fresh knowledge about drugs, diseases, and surgical procedures, thanks to global data uploading.
In a nutshell
The Alma Ata Declaration establishes a foundation for global health care via a partnership in social, economic, and primary health care.
We were forced to accept a universal concept of healthcare during the COVID-19 epidemic. Countries must swiftly scale up their investments in key public health activities—those fundamental public health tasks that need collective action and can only be supported by governments—or risk massive market failures, as the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated.
This includes evidence-based policymaking, risk communication, and community outreach to empower individuals and families to better manage their own health, information systems, data analysis, and surveillance, laboratory capacity for testing, quality product, and healthy behavior regulation, and public health institutes and program subsidies.