World Health Day 2019: Health care for everyone

The focus this World Health Day (7th April 2019) is a push for universal health coverage (UHC). This is about ensuring all people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship. No one should have to choose between good health and other life necessities.

  • At least half of the world’s people is currently unable to obtain essential health services.
  • Almost 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty (living on US$1.90 per day), because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets.
  • Over 800 million people (almost 12 percent of the world’s population) spend at least 10 percent of their household budgets on health expenses for themselves, a sick child or other family member.

Universal Health Care is one of the World Health Organisation’s Sustainable Development Goals. All world leaders agreed – in the Tokyo Declaration in 2017 – to accelerate progress towards UHC and to achieve health for all people by 2030.

According to the latest New Zealand Health Strategy (2016):

  • 95 percent of Kiwis are enrolled with a primary health organisation; and
  • New Zealanders are more likely to report being able to get a doctor’s appointment on the same or next day than people in the UK or Australia.

The Ministry of Health is working towards the following vision for the future of the NZ health system: “All New Zealanders live well, stay well, get well, in a system that is people-powered, provides services closer to home, is designed for value and high performance, and works as one team in a smart system.”

How you get involved in progress towards universal health care

Everyone has a part to play, stimulating conversations and contributing to structured dialogue towards policies that help your country achieve and maintain Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Here are some ideas on how you as an individual can make a difference:

  • Communicate your needs, opinions and expectations to local policy-makers, politicians, ministers and other representatives.
  • Make the necessary noise to ensure your community’s health needs are taken into account and prioritised at the local level, including through social media.
  • Invite community organisations to help raise your community’s needs to your policy-makers.
  • Share your stories as affected communities and patients with the media.
  • Organize activities like discussion forums, policy debates, concerts, marches and interviews to provide people an opportunity to interact with their representatives on the topic of Universal Health Coverage.

Sources: World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health websites.

Published on Friday, March 8th, 2019, under Events
Page last updated: 11/03/2019

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