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World Health Day 2019: Universal Health Coverage
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World Health Day is not just a day but a fact that we all have to acknowledge. It’s a sad truth that being in an advanced world, we still lack in health awareness and services on a global level. Don’t you all think that when talking about health services how far we have come but when we look behind, it’s like we have not accomplished anything?
Health care services are the privileges given to those who can afford it. But what about the rest of the population! Don’t they deserve it as well? With this year’s world health day theme Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere. And in today’s blog that is what we are going to talk about.
World Health Day: History
For every year, 7th April is marked as the World Health Day and is celebrated by people all across the globe. Under the leadership of the World Health Organization, this day holds the value which is to draw the attention of people towards the importance of global health.
The first World Health Assembly was held in the year 1948 in Geneva by the WHO, where it was decided to celebrate the World Health Day on 7th of April every year.
It is an annual event celebrated for years to create public awareness of health issues and concerns. Every year, a particular theme is chosen to run the celebration and to focus on that issue for that year while addressing other issues as well.
What actually is Universal Health Coverage (UHC)?
Universal health coverage (UHC) means irrespective of caste, creed and colour, all people should get all kinds of health services they need, and of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that these services do not impose any financial hardships on the user.
According to the WHO, the UHC covers the following 3 objectives:
1. Equal access to health services – everyone who needs services should get them, not only those who can pay for them.
2. The quality of health services should be good enough to improve the health of those who are receiving them and
3. People should be protected against financial harm, ensuring that the cost of using these services do not put them at risk of financial harm.
Healthy citizens are the greatest assets any country can have – Winston S. Churchill
Countries with the Worst Healthcare System
While on the subject of healthcare coverage, let me tell you that there are countries that face huge difficulties providing even basic universal healthcare to their citizens.
Every year more than eight million children die from preventable diseases in countries with the worst healthcare systems. So, let’s take a look at the countries around the world with the worst Healthcare system:
Sierra Leone is an African country on the southwest coast of West Africa, with a population of almost 6 million. The country was devastated by civil war, all its medical facilities were looted and destroyed.
The rural population of Sierra Leone does not have adequate access to clean drinking water. With a score of 0.00 on the WHO health systems performance index, it comes on the top for the list of worst healthcare services. For every million people, there are only about 22 physicians.
Myanmar is a country surrounded by Thailand, Laos, China, India, and Bangladesh, with an area of 680,000 km2. With a score of 0.138/1 on the WHO health systems performance index, makes it the second worst country in the world in providing healthcare.
Due to decades of under-investment in health care, Myanmar has resulted in an undeveloped and fragile health care system with poor health outcomes in maternal health, child health, communicable diseases and traffic-related incidents.
Even though the government provides free health care, people have to pay for their health expenses out of their pocket. For every million citizens, there are only 6 doctors.
Central African Republic
The country is surrounded by Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, DRC, The Republic of Congo, and Cameroon. With a WHO health services performance score of 0.156/1, the Central African Republic (CAR) is on the third spot for countries with the worst healthcare system.
Due to poverty and poor infrastructure along with Sanitation problems and lack of clean water led to a rise in preventable diseases such as malaria, Diarrhoea, etc. making the situation far worse.
The recent Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa shows the vulnerability of the local health care infrastructure to newly emerging infectious diseases. About 28,646 cases of EBOV were reported during the 2013–2016 epidemic in West Africa.
Another important factor in this rapid geographic spread of emerging infectious diseases is road construction, to provide open access for facilities and services to remote locations in Central Africa.
Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Where does India Stand in Healthcare Services?
India ranks worse among its neighbours like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan but better than Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal. According to the WHO health services performance index, India has improved its ranking from 153 in 1990 to 145 in 2016.
For the past few years, Initiatives have been taken like introducing online healthcare portals like TabletShablet, that helps to facilitate in this mission of Global health coverage.
But still, this is not enough, as there are a lot of places in our country where proper medical facilities are still not available. There is a huge gap in health service available within the states.
Within India, based on the HAQ index in 2016, Goa and Kerala scored more than 60 points whereas Assam and Uttar Pradesh scored below 40. This gap has increased from a 23.4 point difference in 1990 to 30.8 point difference in 2016. There is a huge gap between the urban and rural scenario of health care system.
The World Health Organization proposed that countries should spend 4-5% of their GDP on health to achieve universal healthcare. According to the IndiaSpend report on January 30, 2018, India spends only 1.4% of its GDP on health.
All these results show that how much we have to work on our healthcare services. It’s a shame that lots of people in our country are being scarce in basic healthcare services. When we are getting all types of healthcare at just our homes, all thanks to online health portals.
So, let this year be a successful year in response to the Universal Health Coverage all across the world. And if you find this blog interesting or helpful, like, share or comment in the section below.
Stay Safe Stay Healthy