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A coalition for access to healthcare

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It will urge governments to end extreme poverty and deadly epidemics

A new global coalition of over 500 development organisations worldwide was launched on Friday, to stress the importance of providing universal access to health services for saving lives.

Friday was the first-ever Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC) observed to underline the importance of providing everyone access to quality healthcare without being forced into poverty.

The coalition will urge governments to end extreme poverty, build resilience against the health effects of climate change and end deadly epidemics such as Ebola.

UHC Day marks the two-year anniversary of a United Nations resolution that endorsed universal health coverage as a pillar of sustainable development and global security. It brought to the forefront the widening gap between those who can access health services without financial hardship and those who cannot.

As per statistics available, annually 100 million people fall into poverty because of expenses towards hospitalisation or medical care. Around one billion people worldwide cannot even access the healthcare they need, paving the way for disease outbreaks to become catastrophic epidemics.

“UHC is an idea whose time has come — because health for all saves lives, strengthens nations and is achievable and affordable for every country,” says Michael Myers, Managing Director of The Rockefeller Foundation, which is leading the Universal Health Coverage Day initiative.

Indeed, India and China have been pursuing the question of universal health coverage more recently. In India, the central government took up the question of UHC nearly five years ago and appointed a high level expert group (HLEG) to evolve a plan through which it could be implemented in the country.

The HLEG has suggested the implementation of a scheme, “under which all Indian citizens will have the right to affordable, accountable and appropriate health services of assured quality defined in a published package of services and benefits. It is also a supplemental system of financing to protect people from increasing medical expenses.”

The Centre will fund the project with money generated through taxes and combine it with an increased spending on public health. The HLEG’s report, submitted in 2011, provided the vision and a blue-print to show the feasibility of establishing the UHC system within the next 10 years in India.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 6:46:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/a-coalition-for-access-to-healthcare/article6689628.ece

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