Em. Prof. Cees Th. Smit Sibinga
Where are we and what is happening today? In 2010 during the World Health Assembly, a Resolution was adopted which expresses serious concerns on the fact that large groups of patients in developing countries still have no access to proper health care, essential medication and blood products. Additionally it was observed that a growing number of people was being pushed into extreme poverty because of catastrophic out-of-pocket payments for health care costs.
By 2012 this number has grown to over 100 million, where over half of the global population still does not have full coverage of essential health services, medicines and in vitro diagnostics.
In 2012 the UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution on Global Health and Foreign Policy where all Member States agreed to work towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030, which was later included as one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2016-2030. UHC means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship. UHC embodies three related objectives:
- Equity in access to health services – everyone who needs services should get them, not only those who can afford and pay for them;
- The quality of health services should be good enough to improve the health of those receiving services;
- People should be protected against financial risk, ensuring that the cost of using services does not put people at risk of financial harm and/or poverty.
Then the world was struck by COVID-19, that hit like a devastating tsunami. WHO responded with a global leadership programme to stop the spread and prevent continuation.