Affordable quality healthcare at the community level across age groups is the key to advancing universal health coverage, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.
“A well-functioning primary care system that meets most of a person’s health needs, throughout the life, is central to universal health coverage (UHC),” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia. The theme of this year’s World Health Day, celebrated on April 7, is Universal Health Coverage, ‘Health for All: Everyone, Everywhere’.
UHC is WHO’s top global goal. For WHO’s South-East Asia region, UHC has been a flagship programme since 2014. The region has progressed, with essential health service coverage improving in all countries, with the availability of doctors, nurses and mid-wives. There is an increasing inter-country collaboration to improve access to quality medicines through the South-East Asia Regulatory Network.
However, Singh said more needs to be done, because around 800 million people still lack full coverage of essential health services and at least 65 million people are pushed into poverty because of health spending.