The Virchow Foundation for Global Health joins the global community in raising its voice this Universal Health Coverage Day 2022. Every December 12, since 2012, this international day aims to raise awareness for the need of strong, resilient and equitable health systems and universal health coverage involving multiple stakeholders (1). The United Nations General Assembly unanimously endorsed the Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage urging all countries to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) as an essential priority for international development (2, 3). Five years later, in 2017, the UN proclaimed December 12 as an international global health day (3).
#HealthforAll is the key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals until 2030 and to cope with the interconnectedness of health, humanitarian and climate crises the world face.
As we celebrated the Human Rights Day 2022 on December 10, which marked the beginning of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this UHC day starts the countdown to the high-level UN General Assembly in 2023.
What is UHC?
Health is a human right, and in the world we envision, everyone everywhere has access to quality healthcare, without the consequences of financial hardship and whenever they need it (4). The World Health Organization states that UHC can lift people out of poverty, can promote the well-being of families and communities, as well as protect against public health crises (3). Therefore, this year’s theme has the slogan “Build the world we want: A healthy future for all”.
Globally, progress was made in the last decade as the UHC service coverage index in the Western Pacific Region shows. It increased from 49 in the year 2000 to 80 in 2019 (4). Inequalities, financial hardship, vulnerable populations and pandemics however are crucial issues that must be tackled to reach universal health coverage for all, everywhere.
The world we want is within reach
Five key pillars of UHC have therefore been defined this year.
Health equity is one of the main and most important objectives of this year’s UHC campaign. “For health systems to work, they must work for everyone – no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have.” (1). Priority populations are amongst others primarily children, adolescents, women and the most vulnerable because they are experiencing extreme barriers when seeking / needing essential care.
“We all deserve a health system we can trust to be there for us throughout life.” (1). People having trust in their respective health systems, being ensured that they will receive appropriate care in clinics and hospitals, is key to reach the world we want.
- Healthy Environments
Health is complex and multi-faceted, therefore affected by a manifold of influences. The environment in which we live, learn, grow, work and play are conditions that impact our health tremendously and long-lasting (1). Communities need to be empowered to be able to promote a holistic approach to physical, mental and social well-being of humans.
No further progress can be made without public financing for health. In conclusion, investments will reduce the “out-of-pocket” health costs building resilience against future pandemics and further promote the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The UHC finally calls on leaders to take action to meet their commitments and for civil society to hold their leaders accountable (1). The past three years with the overlapping global crises of COVID-19, humanitarian and intensified global warming, urge for a rapid progress from every country towards achieving #HealthForAll.
The Virchow Foundation for Global Health was founded with the mission and vision to raise awareness of global health issues and to promote cooperation across actors, sectors and disciplines to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals; specifically focused on Goal 3 “Health and Well-Being for All”. Therefore, we are proud to continue our work in supporting and increasing recognition for pressing global issues and the achievement of #HealthForAll.
(1) SDG Knowledge Hub – A project by IISD. International Universal Health Coverage Day 2022. (2022). https://sdg.iisd.org/events/international-universal-health-coverage-day-2022/
(2) UHC protects everyone. Universal Health Coverage Day. (2022). https://universalhealthcoverageday.org/about/
(3) International Universal Health Coverage Day 2022. SDG Knowledge Hub – A project by IISD. (2022). https://sdg.iisd.org/events/international-universal-health-coverage-day-2022/
(4) World Health Organization. Universal Health Coverage Day 2022 – Build the world we want: A healthy future for all. (2022). https://www.who.int/westernpacific/news-room/events/detail/2022/12/12/western-pacific-events/universal-health-coverage-day-2022