The World Health Organisation (WHO) was founded on the principle that all people should be able to realise their right to the highest possible level of health. “Health for all” has therefore been the guiding vision for more than seven decades. It is also the impetus behind the current organisation-wide drive to support countries in moving towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Experience has illustrated, time and again, that Universal Health Coverage is achieved when political will is strong. So in the 70th anniversary year, WHO is calling on world leaders to live up to the pledges they made when they agreed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in 2015, and commit to concrete steps to advance the health of all people. This means ensuring that everyone, everywhere can access essential quality health services without facing financial hardship.
The Organisation will maintain a high-profile focus on UHC via a series of events through 2018, starting on World Health Day on 7 April with global and local conversations about ways to achieve health for all.
Why UHC matters?
Countries that invest in UHC make a sound investment in their human capital. In recent decades, UHC has emerged as a key strategy to make progress towards other health-related and broader development goals. Access to essential quality care and financial protection not only enhances people’s health and life expectancy, it also protects countries from epidemics, reduces poverty and the risk of hunger, creates jobs, drives economic growth and enhances gender equality.
What World Health Day can do?
Some countries have already made significant progress towards UHC. But half the world’s population is still unable to obtain the health services they need. If countries are to achieve the SDG targets, one billion more people need to benefit from UHC by 2023.
World Health Day will shine a spotlight on the need for UHC - and the advantages it can bring. WHO and its partners will share examples of steps to take to get there through a series of events and conversations held at multiple levels.
Throughout 2018, WHO aims to inspire, motivate and guide UHC stakeholders to make commitments towards UHC:
* Inspire — by highlighting policy-makers’ power to transform the health of their nation, framing the challenge as exciting and ambitious, and inviting them to be part of the change.
* Motivate — by sharing examples of how countries are already progressing towards UHC and encourage others to find their own path.
* Guide — by providing tools for structured policy dialogue on how to advance UHC domestically or supporting such efforts in other countries (e.g. expanding service coverage, improving quality of services, reducing out-of-pocket payments).
The theme of World Health Day in 2018 is “Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere” and the slogan is “Health for All”.