12th December marks International Universal Health Coverage Day. Today, UHC advocates underline the importance of universal health coverage including financial risk protection, and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.
Build the World we want: A healthy future for all
On 12th December 2017, the UN proclaimed the day as Universal Health Coverage Day by resolution 72/138. Since then every year on 12th December the healthcare industry comes together to stand and advocate for what is required to deliver high quality, affordable, people-centred lifelong participatory primary healthcare for all. The need to raise bigger funds for the goal is highlighted by sharing stories of the millions of people still waiting for proper healthcare. It also aims to remind us that financial protection is also important to ensure that health services do not lead to financial hardships.
What’s happening in India?
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare organised a two-days health ministers conclave on the theme “ Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC) 2022 ’ from 10th-11th December 2022, in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Mrs. Anandien Patel ( Governor of U.P), Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya (Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare), and Dr. Bharti Praveen Pawar ( Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare) inaugurated the event. It also marks the 1st Regional Community HealthOfficers(CHO) Conference for Northern India where concerned officials from the medical field from U.P, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttarakhand took part.
World Ayurveda Congress & Arogya Expo 2022 was also held in Goa from 8th-11th December 2022 to provide a global platform to stakeholders, including practitioners, traditional healers, educationists, students, medicine manufacturers, industry leaders, etc. Such steps ensure that more attention is given to traditional medicine to further boost its market internally and globally so that it can reach the masses.
Health insurance policy like Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, under the Ayushman Bharat scheme launched by PM Modi on September 23, 2018, is one of the ambitious plans taken by India in the direction of attaining UHC by 2030. Reports suggest that AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Neuropathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy) market is forecast to grow at 15% CAGR from 2021-2026.
Indian healthcare sector has shown growth in several health indicators such as Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), achieving the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) and polio-free India a reality. Though we are still substantially behind when it comes to healthcare equity, without which we cannot achieve UHC. There is a significant State-wise variation, given that Rajasthan (88%) stands at the top, while U.P (17%) stands at the bottom in terms of coverage of health insurance.
With up to two-thirds of the world’s extremely poor estimated to live in fragile settings by 2030 and 61% of maternal deaths and 45% of neonatal deaths occurring in fragile contexts, there is a risk that millions of marginalised people will be left out of the self-care revolution.
At the 2019 UHC high-level meeting on UHC, Member states reaffirmed that health is an essential aspect and indicator of the social, economic, and environmental dimension of sustainable development.
The next UHC high-level meeting will be held at the 78th UN General Assembly in New York to review progress towards the 2024 UHC target and the implementation of the 2019 declaration. There is a scope for improvement in every country which can be achieved by increasing health coverage of health services, and by reducing the impoverishment associated with the finance of the health services.