“Access to adequate health services is a human right. Not a privilege. In this time and age, there is no acceptable reason for which anyone should die from preventable and detectable diseases. Ensuring universal health coverage will improve the conditions of those further behind and will help us eradicate poverty, address inequalities and secure growth”- Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the seventy-fourth session of the General Assembly
With just over 10 years to the deadline on the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN holds a High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Universal health coverage (UHC) to secure a political commitment from Heads of State and Government to prioritise UHC.
The Political Declaration on UHC which recognises the primary responsibility of governments to scale up global efforts to provide universal access to affordable and quality health services was approved by acclamation at the HLM on Mon, 23rd Sept 2019, at the General Assembly in NYC.
The objective of UHC is to strengthen our health system beginning with Primary Health Care. Universal health coverage (UHC) ensures that everyone is able to obtain the health services they need, when and where they need them, without facing financial hardship. UHC is a political choice. It takes vision, courage and long-term thinking. But the payoff is a safer, fairer and healthier world for everyone, everywhere.
Nearly all countries, including low-income countries, have the capacity to mobilise the resources required to achieve UHC. Achieving UHC is essential for inclusive development, prosperity, gender equality and fairness.
Despite clear benefits and feasibility, inequities in access to quality health services persist. Each year, over 800 million people spend at least ten per cent of their household budgets on health-related costs, and about 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty due to their health expenditures.
Over 3.65 billion people, at least half of the world’s population, do not have full coverage of essential services, and the most marginalised are left furthest behind.
All countries have committed to trying to achieve universal health coverage by 2030, which includes financial risk protection, high-quality health care services, and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines.
We advocate for increased political commitment backed with action for a safer, fairer and healthier world for everyone, everywhere.