‘Universal Health Coverage pays long-term dividends for nations’

| Updated on February 01, 2020

With 10 years remaining to 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on all countries to accelerate efforts to fulfil their commitments to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) and other health-related targets in the Sustainable Development Goals.

2019 was a landmark year for UHC. At the United Nations General Assembly in September, world leaders agreed on the political declaration on UHC, the first time all 193 UN Member States were unified around a common and comprehensive commitment to achieving this goal.

In October, at the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Belgrade, Serbia, legislators from 140 countries adopted a comprehensive resolution on UHC, pledging to leverage the power of parliaments to translate political commitment into laws, policies, programmes, and results.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, had said in an opinion piece they had co-written in December: “Countries like Japan have shown that universal coverage is not only possible, it pays long-term dividends for the prosperity and stability of nations. Investing in health at an early stage of a country’s economic development can create the fundamental infrastructure for sustainable and comprehensive economic growth and social development.”

2020 will provide several more opportunities for countries to advance towards UHC. At the UHC Forum, held in conjunction with the Prince Mahidol Award Conference in Bangkok from January 28 to February 2, public health experts and policymakers from around the world will meet to identify challenges and solutions in strengthening health systems, including on sustainable financing.

Besides other events through the year, the WHO will also seek to use the G20 summit in Saudi Arabia and the G7 summit in the US to ensure health remains a priority for leaders of the world’s wealthiest nations.

Published on February 01, 2020

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