Today, during #WorldHealthDay, the World Health Organization (WHO) is urging world leaders to commit to “concrete the steps to advance universal health coverage and ensuring that everyone, everywhere receives the health services needed without facing financial hardship.”
According to WHO, “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.”
“We need to get one billion more people to benefit from quality health services and financial protection by 2023 if we are to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 3.8 on achieving universal health coverage by 2030.”
WHO also outlined three steps that citizens can take in order to advocate for quality health coverage and financial protection:
- Develop a roadmap- How far has your community and your country come to realize universal health coverage? What is your advocacy goal and the change you are trying to achieve in the long term? Make the goal specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. What are your short-term advocacy objectives? Your objectives should make clear who will be reached, what change will be achieved, in what time period the change will be achieved and where. Ask yourself who has an interest or stake in universal health coverage? Who has the power to act? Which messages will you use to reach your target audiences?
- Connect with allies – Connect with other groups who are engaged in the movement towards universal health coverage. A good starting point is UHC2030. Create opportunities for others to join the movement. Be inclusive. Plan and host activities that build on your partnerships, for example, health benefit concerts or community health fora that are centered on people’s health needs. Connect with champions who have a public presence to create awareness of your issue. Connect with implementers, those that get things done, those that affect the change you want to see. Consider how to keep them all engaged (eg. social media or a newsletter). Share successes.
- Rally your community – Rally your community and engage advocacy groups beyond health. Share the benefits of universal health coverage with patient or consumer groups, local associations or a volunteer health worker programme. Help everyone understand their right to health and why it matters.
Learn more about World Health Day here.