A recent increase in political commitment and global cooperation has led many countries to adopt Universal Health Coverage (UHC) strategies—such as establishing packages of essential health services and implementing health financing reforms—in an effort to ensure their citizens have access to basic health care services. Health is increasingly being embraced as the driver of human welfare and sustained economic and social development, but I wonder: If persons with disabilities are not deliberately included in the design of UHC strategies and reforms, will they be left behind?
Today, over 500 organizations and individuals worldwide are celebrating the first-ever Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day). All week, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) bloggers have shared stories, analysis, photos, and videos, in support of UHC Day and health for all: Partnering to Make UHC a Reality "For UHC to succeed worldwide, the global health community must generate what’s still missing: a fully-fledged roadmap for UHC efforts and an architecture for global UHC governance," blogs Jonathan Jay in Devex.
Staff contributors at Management Sciences for Health (MSH), a founding member of the UHC Day coalition, are blogging this week about universal health coverage, including sharing fresh videos, photos, and analysis, inspired by the five reasons to support health for all. Each day we also include how you can take action right away to support health for all.
Today, we highlight reason two ("Because UHC is attainable") with video and stories from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria--countries working toward UHC.
Because Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is Attainable
“I wish I had called this event,” said Mr. Simone Ole Kirgotty, CEO of Kenyan National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). This came as a surprise to many since the CEO was bombarded with critical questions and comments about the activities of the organization he has been leading for the last two years. “If it was new for me to lead such a controversial organization, I would have run away after all these comments,” added Mr. Kirgotty cheerfully.
“While Kenya has seen improvements in areas like HIV care and treatment and child survival, many Kenyans still struggle to access basic healthcare,” says Dr. Jonathan D. Quick, President and CEO of Management Sciences for Health (MSH), in an op-ed published today in The People, a Kenyan newspaper.
Quick returned to the country to speak at Kenya’s launch of the Health for All: Campaign for Universal Health Coverage in Africa (Health for All) last month.
In a health clinic outside Nairobi, Kenya, Janet* waits to see a doctor. Janet is a 32-year-old widow and mother of four from Kibera, a neighborhood of Nairobi. Her 11-year-old daughter, Jane*, isn’t feeling well. Both mother and daughter are HIV-positive.
We will sprint in the last round like our athletes. That is the Ethiopian style. So says the famous Ethiopian comedian Dereje Haile. His team is lagging behind in the first round of the popular Ethiopian Television (ETV) game show, Question and Answer Competition.
I felt like I had traded my mother’s health for my children’s schooling. It was a tough choice, and I cried every day. This emotional remark was made by Lucy Njoki, a Kenyan mother and grandmother, at the Health for All Campaign Launch Event on April 28, 2014, in Nairobi. She had been forced to choose between paying for her children’s education or her mother’s urgently needed medical treatment. She could not afford both. Affordable and accessible health care remain an unrealized dream for many Kenyan citizens.
In Nigeria, the Health for All: Campaign for Universal Health Coverage in Africa is effectively collaborating with stakeholders to support the government move toward universal health coverage (UHC). Led by MSH and funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, the Health for All Campaign co-hosted a National Stakeholders Meeting on UHC in conjunction with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and PharmAccess Foundation on March 9, 2014.
The Health for All: Campaign for Universal Health Coverage is working to ensure that challenges that hinder access to quality health care in Kenya are addressed. The campaign aims to ensure that governments and stakeholders in health services delivery prioritize strengthening infrastructure, human resource for health, and health care financing to improve service delivery.
The campaign will official launch on April 28, 2014 with the theme, "Health systems strengthening for universal health coverage".
This post originally appeared on The Lancet Global Health Blog.
A strong civil society is essential for realizing the lofty goal of achieving universal health coverage (UHC). While the ongoing global discussions around UHC have largely focused on the role of government and development partners in designing and implementing risk pooling mechanisms that have the potential to improve access to essential health services, there has been little discussion on the key role that local civil society organizations (CSOs) play to ensure various communities support UHC and hold governments accountable.
It was sudden and unexpected. It was also funny: the ball exploded and deflated right under Teferi's foot. But everybody started to worry when the director screamed: “We can’t shoot the next scene without the football! Somebody get me a new one!”
I looked at the young boy actor. Tears were about to wash his gloomy face as the ball changed into a useless piece of flat plastic right before his cloudy eyes. "This is bad!" I said to myself. "The kid might not be willing to act anymore; we might be forced to start the production all over again!"
Management Sciences for Health (MSH) joined African civil society organizations (CSOs) at a side event on July 2 of the Abuja +12 meeting of African heads of governments. The groups agreed that universal health coverage should be included in the post-2015 development agenda.
The Health for All campaign was officially launched in Ethiopia at an event on March 14 in Addis Ababa. Over 100 participants, including partners, government representatives, and contributing artists, attended the colorful ceremony at Harmony Hotel. A children’s band entertained the guests with music, and a community theatre group, Music Mayday, portrayed the importance of health insurance for all.Hiwot Emishaw, the coordinator of the Health for All campaign, opened the ceremony.