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Universal health coverage (UHC) means that everybody has admission to the full range of quality health facilities they need without financial hardship. It covers the entire spectrum of important health services, from advancement to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.
To make health for all a certainty, all people must have access to high-quality facilities for their health and the health of their families and societies. To do so, skilled health workers providing excellence, people-centered care. And policy-makers committed to investing in universal health coverage are essential.
What is Universal Health Coverage?
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is a pledge rooted in the belief that high-quality physical and mental health is a basic human right and that all people should have contact with quality essential health facilities without financial hardship.
Universal health coverage is based on countries’ basic health care packages and objectives to provide comprehensive. High-quality health services for the entire population throughout life and the care process. Including health promotion, prevention, detection, management, rehabilitation, and palliative care services.
It also protects people from high out-of-pocket costs and prioritizes disadvantaged communities. Primary Health Care (PHC) is considered the driving force of UHC. As it empowers communities, promotes social responsibility and multi-sector action, and integrates health services and innovative digital solutions.
Implementation of Universal Health Coverage: Where are we now?
Non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, vascular disease, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases. Are the leading reasons for disease and disability worldwide, accounting for 71 percent of global extinction. 85% of early deaths from NCDs occur in low- and middle-income countries.
Several countries struggle to integrate NCDs into their universal health coverage profit packages. They are not on track to achieve SDG 3.4. Which requires that a third of NCD deaths occur through prevention and treatment.
Although data on including NCD prevention and care in universal health coverage packages is limited. What does exist reveals important gaps in coverage within and between countries.
Access to high-quality essential services through a continuum of care that leaves no one behind.
Many countries struggle to provide adequate coverage and access to NCD facilities across the continuum of care, with screening, diagnosis, rehabilitation, treatment, and palliative care. For example, half of adults alive with diabetes are undiagnosed and cannot access insulin. Only 1 in 5 people have high blood pressure under medical control. Chronic kidney disease is often untreated, and over 90% of cancer patients in low-income states lack access to radiotherapy. This dual burden of health challenges underscores the pressing need for improved healthcare infrastructure and accessibility in underserved regions. Individuals with CKD (stage 3) face additional hurdles in managing their condition, further emphasizing the importance of comprehensive healthcare interventions to address diverse and often intersecting health issues in these vulnerable populations.
Equity in access to health facilities for all populations, leaving no one behind.
Despite efforts to recover access to healthcare services for all populations, health inequities persist, particularly for marginalized collections and those with low socioeconomic status. These people are at higher risk of dying from NCDs. due to the absence of access to health facilities and exposure to risk factors. Out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare also push these groups into poverty.
Learn more about an integrated primary health care program that leaves no population behind in Jordan!
The 2023 UHC State Engagement Review tells us that many UHC implementation efforts have often focused on specific population groups and also reported discriminatory practices. The pandemic is likely to have exacerbated these inequalities and limited the participation of non-state actors in efforts to improve the monitoring, evaluation, and accountability of universal health coverage. Furthermore, only a few countries have implemented formal accountability mechanisms for universal health coverage.
How can we make universal health coverage (UHC) a reality?
Achieving Universal Health Coverage and SDG 3.8 will only be possible if NCDs are comprise of national UHC policies combine with efforts to achieve the NCD targets in SDG 3.4.
The current global NCD agenda focuses on five major diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, and mental and neurological conditions) and five variable risk factors (tobacco use, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, and also unhealthy diseases). Pollution). Because these chronic diseases develop slowly, they require a life-cycle approach. Making it essential to integrate NCD prevention and care into universal health coverage.
Therefore, NCD prevention and care services must funded and include in the continuum of care in national CSU health benefit packages. It consists of a menu of cost-effective interventions known as Best Buys, and policies that go beyond the health system. Such as taxation, labeling, and marketing initiatives, are also critical to achieving UHC.
Heads of state and government have the opportunity in 2023 and beyond to increase national investment and allocate public financing for health. Particularly at the primary healthcare level for people living with NCDs.
Universal health coverage requires strong, people-centered primary health care. Good health systems are rooted in the societies they serve. They concentrate not only on preventing and treating disease and illness but also on serving to improve well-being and quality of life.
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