On 7 April, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the globe celebrate World Health Day. This year’s theme is Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which is the number one goal of the WHO. In 2019, the aim is to help people across the world to understand what UHC is and how it can be achieved.
What is Universal Health Coverage?
Universal Health Coverage means that all people have access to the quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. It is based on the fact that health is a human right, and that the time is now for health for all.
At least 50% of the people in the world are not receiving the health services they need. Every year some 100 million people are forced into extreme poverty due to out-of-pocket spending on health. UHC is the solution to these problems.
To ensure UHC, quality and accessible health care must be available to everyone. Health is a human right, and everybody should be able to access the services and information they need to take care of their own health and that of their family.
The crucial role of health workers
This World Health Day, health workers are encouraged to play a role in helping to raise awareness of and to achieve UHC. Health workers have a key role to play in the campaign by helping decision makers for health – such as Ministers for Health and other decision makers – to recognise what people need in terms of health care, especially at the primary care level.
Health workers can help by uniting with their peers and colleagues to let local leaders within the community to know about the importance of UHC. They can also play a role in empowering patients to take care of their own health. Health workers play a vital role in learning about patients’ needs and teaching people what they can do to become and remain healthy.
Nurses, doctors and other health care workers have the power to change lives with quality health care and advice. It’s essential to make sure that everyone can access this. That is why this World Health Day, WHO is encouraging the world to make Universal Health Coverage a reality.
UHC and POLHN
UHC is all about ensuring access to quality health care and advice. At the grass roots level, this means ensuring that nurses and other health professionals are able to access the knowledge and skills they need to help their patients. Programs such as POLHN, which offer free online health certificates, assist with this. By making sure that health workers anywhere can access the knowledge they need, UHC becomes more of a reality.