World Health Day 2019: Health for all – everyone, everywhere

This year, World Health Day is focusing on UHC, with the theme Health for all – everyone, everywhere.

World Health Day 2019: Health for all – everyone, everywhere

According to the World Health Organization, at least half of the world’s population do not have full coverage of essential health services, and about 100 million people are still being pushed into extreme poverty due to health care costs. To ensure Universal Health Coverage (UHC), it is essential to strengthen health systems in all countries.

This year, World Health Day is focusing on UHC, with the theme Health for all – everyone, everywhere. How can UHC be achieved, and how can evidence from health policy and systems research help? HSG members share their thoughts in our selection of blog posts and media pieces below:

  • Engaging with the private sector for UHC: What have we learned?: Until now, research on the private health sector has been seen to be of modest relevance to global health strategies. Our Private Sector in Health Thematic Working Group symposia have focused on demonstrating the significance of the private sector as an important source of health care, mapping the complex reality of pluralistic health systems and presenting the results of relatively modest interventions. This needs to change as governments are becoming increasingly interested in the contribution that non-state actors can make towards their Universal Health Coverage (UHC) strategies.

  • How can we achieve UHC in Africa by 2030?: reflections on AHAIC 2019‘Health should not be like playing the lottery – but that is what it has become in Africa. If you’re born rich you win, if you are born poor, you lose.’ This statement was made by Dr Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO of Amref Health Africa at the opening ceremony of the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) which took place in Kigali, Rwanda from the 5th to 7th March 2019.

  • A reality check on UHC: Where do we go from here?: Angela was part of the Emerging Voices for Global Health fellowship, where she opened up about her experiences as a young, female researcher in Uganda. One story stood out because it perfectly portrayed the complex web of barriers that prevent the world’s most vulnerable communities from accessing essential primary health services, the foundation for universal health coverage (UHC), as well as the importance of intersectionality among health professionals as stewards of UHC.

  • Transitioning health systems for Universal Health Coverage: The goal of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) continues to gather momentum, six years on from its unanimous adoption at the United Nations General Assembly on 12th December 2012. Making the goal a reality is a challenge in all settings. For middle-income countries, the tensions between expanding the range of services to which people have access and ensuring investment in interventions that are cost-effective and support growing health equity are pronounced.

  • A call to Astana: Health must not remain a privilege of the powerful alone: Forty years on from the Alma Ata declaration, those who are the most vulnerable are still the least likely to access quality healthcare and to live healthy lives. Research is critical for understanding and addressing the systems of power that undermine health and health equity. Leaders must invest in more inclusive, introspective and innovative research partnerships to strengthen robust, resilient and responsive health systems to achieve ‘health for all’.

  • Ensuring “G” in UHC: Redressing gender for effective Universal Health Coverage: There is an urgent need to keep the gender lens wide while planning for UHC, especially in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Coverage is essential, but while we strive toward this, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on gender equality should not be forgotten.

  • Shocks, stresses and Universal Health Coverage: When it comes to health and climate change, the focus remains on how current health systems will experience climate change and its negative impacts, rather than on engaging in transformational processes such as UHC to improve equity and adaptability to current and future climate risks. HPSR needs to consider integrated development planning, by creating avenues to improve the accountability of governments to provide healthcare to all.

  • Strengthening gender equity within community health workforce: A need for gender-inclusive inter-sectoral policy approaches: Applying a gender lens is critical in developing health systems and policies that strive to meet UHC, especially as we consider strategies that strengthen gender equity in the deployment of the health workforce including community health workers (CHWs) needed to meet the UHC goals.

  • “Health for All” Forty Years On (Project Syndicate, Oct 2, 2018): In September 1978, the international community adopted the Declaration of Alma-Ata, one of the most important global agreements ever reached in the effort to achieve universal health coverage. Although not all of the declaration’s goals have been achieved, the vision it articulated remains as relevant as ever.

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