Aniruddha Mishra and Kohinoor Sahu
Winner, National Article Writing Competition 2020
Organised by Fores Legal
Universal Health Care better known as Universal Health Coverage (UHC) means to provide overall ease in access to health care facilities without any financial hardships. It is regarded as the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer. It is inclusive, it unifies services and delivers them in a comprehensive and integrated way. In the much broader and exact sense of the term, universal health coverage implies that all people, without any discrimination, have access to the nationally determined sets of promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services. Also, all people should have access to essential, safe, affordable, effective, and quality medicines and vaccines, and all this to be ensured with adherence to minimal financial hardship to the consumer with special emphasis on poor vulnerable and marginalized segments of the population.
Health is an investment in human capital and social and economic development, towards the full realization of human potential and it significantly contributes to the promotion and protection of human rights and dignity, ensuring upliftment in quality of life. Thus it is essential at the national level that the governments understand the importance of whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches, with the responsibility of determining their path towards achieving universal health coverage, with national context and priorities underscoring the importance of political stimuli and leadership for the same. Although at the international level, it has gained widespread acceptance and adherence and has also been affiliated to its parent root of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. Universal health coverage has been discussed at various international podiums as the agenda of primal importance, which can be pointed out to being as recently
- WHO Newsletter, Universal Health Coverage
- Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General WHO, 2016
- Stuckler, Feigl, Basu, & McKee, 2010; WHO, 2010 as of 23/09/2019.
On this date was held a high-level meeting; regarding the universal health coverage at the General Assembly of the United Nations, where a concise and action-oriented political declaration agreed in advance by consensus through intergovernmental negotiations were made and submitted to the President of the General Assembly for the adoption of the General Assembly. The President, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, reaffirmed that health is a pre-requisite for and an outcome and indicator of the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda of SDGs and strongly recommitted to achieve universal health coverage by 2030, with the view of scaling up the effort to build a healthier world for all. If and where UHC is implemented in line with the recommendations of the WHO Consultative Group on equity and Universal Health Coverage it requires the cost-effectiveness criteria used with care, to avoid justifying UHC below the minimum level demanded by the right to health. Moving towards UHC requires strengthening health systems in all countries.
Also achieving health targets depends on equitable access to a health system that delivers high-quality services. Robust financing structures are key to the same. When people pay for health services from their own pockets, it is not availed by them, especially the poor and even the rich in cases of severe long term illnesses. Pooling Funds could distribute the financial risks of illness over a population. With backing from the United Nations, a strong recommendation would be to invest in quality primary health care and its workforce. Primary health care is an approach to health and wellbeing centred on the needs and circumstances of individuals, families, and communities. It is about providing whole-person care for health needs throughout life and not just treating a specific set of diseases and also includes a well designed evidence-informed public policies and actions across all sectors. Primary health care is the most cost-effective approach to achieving UHC. Together with the World Bank, WHO has developed a framework to monitor the progress of UHC which should primarily focus on two things: First, the proportion of a population that 4 President of the GA, Seventy-fourth session, United Nations General Assembly, A/74/L. 45 Universal Health Coverage(UHC), Global Newsroom, WHO, 24/01/2019 can access essential quality services; Second, the proportion of the population that spends a large amount of household income on health. Although the essential attributes, action domains, and key actions for UHC are (1)Quality, (2)Efficiency, (3)Equity, (4)Accountability, (5) Sustainability and resilience.
Health care policies have majorly been implemented in two ways, of which one is through a system of competing for private health insurance carriers. In the Netherlands and Switzerland, people are legally required to buy private insurance or pay a fine. The difference here is that in the Netherlands people choose between plans offered in a national market, while the Swiss shop on regional markets. Dutch share finances between individuals and their employers but the Swiss pay entirety of their plans and children have to buy newer ones. The Dutch pay lower premiums averaging around $115 to $150(2017) per month as compared to $385(2017) in Switzerland. Whereas average employee premiums in the US in 2017 were $118 for individuals and $435 for family. The average annual out-of-pocket-costs in Switzerland are $2,313, which is four times that in the Netherlands, i.e. $605. The other way is a Single Public Plan. In the UK the National Health Service is funded by national taxes, while decentralization is also seen in Canada and Sweden by funds through Regional or local taxes respectively. Although Norway has a split, Primary Health Care is funded through municipal taxes and national taxes pay for hospital and speciality care. Norwegians pay $17 for primary care, $39 for specialists, and up to $51 for prescription drugs. The total annual out-of-pocket spending is capped at $221 per year, after which services are free. Even in countries where physician and hospital services are free such as the U.K. and Canada, patients pay some portion of prescription drug costs. To put this into perspective the global awareness, international solidarity, international cooperation of every nation would be required. Measurable national targets would have to be set and the national evaluation platforms will have to be strengthened. All the relevant global Universal Health Coverage: Moving Towards Better Health Action framework for the Western-Pacific Region, WHO Variations on a Theme: A Look at Universal Health Coverage in Eight Countries, Commonwealth Fund reports, Commonwealth development and health actors, including civil society, the private sector, and the academia will have to assist and support countries as per their respective national contexts, priorities, and competencies, in their efforts to achieve universal health care both nationally and globally.
Fores Legal Law firm organized its first-ever National article writing Competition in collaboration with Unite Foundation having JABNIA Creative Agency as it's a partner for the event. The Winners were awarded e-certificate along with a gift hamper. Apart from this, according to the rules articles of the Winners were supposed to be published on Newstimes Network Portal.