On 12 December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a resolution urging countries to accelerate toward Universal Coverage Health (UHC). The idea is that everyone should have access to quality, affordable health care. And finally on 12 December 2017 as celebrate International Universal Health Coverage Day.
International Universal Health Coverage Day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage with multi-stakeholder partners. Each year on 12 December, UHC advocates raise their voices to share the stories of the millions of people still waiting for health, champion what we have achieved so far, call on leaders to make bigger and smarter investments in health, and encourage diverse groups to make commitments to help move the world closer to UHC by 2030.
Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. It covers the full continuum of essential health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care across the life course.
The delivery of these services requires health and care workers with an optimal skills mix at all levels of the health system, who are equitably distributed, adequately supported with access to quality-assured products, and enjoy decent work.
Protecting people from the financial consequences of paying for health services out of their own pockets reduces the risk that people will be pushed into poverty because the cost of needed services and treatments requires them to use up their life savings, sell assets, or borrow destroy their futures and often those of their children.
Achieving Universal Health Coverage in India:
Health indicators have been gradually improving in India, but health for all is yet to be achieved. The life expectancy is 68.7 years, the infant mortality rate is 33/1000 live births, the maternal mortality ratio is 130/100,000 live births, and the total fertility rate is 2.3 children/woman. However, large inequities by geography, gender, class, caste, religion, and region are seen. Health of the Nation's States Report indicates that despite rising income, poverty and hidden hunger still exist environmental pollution has increased, more so, in urban areas; sanitation services and clean fuel use have not yet improved to the desired level, especially in the villages. In urban areas, slums have mushroomed, built area has increased, and open spaces have shrunk
Moreover, dietary patterns have changed in favour of more sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol, whereas consumption of vegetables and fruits has declined. Mechanization, especially motorized transport, has encouraged sedentary lifestyles and a rise in road traffic injuries is noticed. The gap between aspirations and real-life situations has pushed many into addictions and mental health problems. To address these issues, multisectoral public health actions are needed, in addition to the reorientation of the health sector.
To achieve universal health coverage, a major challenge in India is the promotion of health, prevention of diseases, and provision of health care in a balanced manner, which will require innovative public policies, strategies, and programs in many sectors. Development and implementation of a multisectoral approach to achieve sustainable development goals is the need of the hour. Establishing a Public Health Commission will go a long way in coordinating various initiatives in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and many other relevant ministries/sectors. At least 5% of the gross domestic product should be earmarked for public health and a responsive governance mechanism as outlined above should be set up, to achieve universal health coverage by 2030 as envisaged in the United Nations sustainable development goals which are also endorsed by the Government of India.