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14.12.2015 Health

Coalition Calls on World Leaders to ensure Universal Health Coverage

By GNA
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Accra, Dec. 14, GNA - A coalition of over 700 organisations from 116 countries, has called on global leaders to ensure that all people access essential services without facing financial hardship.

In a statement issued by the Coalition and copied to the Ghana News Agency, it said universal health coverage was a right, smart and long overdue, and has urged world leaders to deliver on promises to achieve universal health coverage since 'health is a human right that reduces poverty, fuels economic growth, and builds resilience to threats from disease outbreaks to climate change'.

At the second annual Universal Health Coverage Day, which fell on December 12, 2015, the Coalition explained that hundreds of millions of people worldwide were still waiting for access to lifesaving health services or fall into poverty paying for needed health care.

'To address these inequities, more than 100 countries across the income spectrum have begun working toward universal health coverage, increasingly demonstrating its feasibility'.

The Coalition has urged world leaders to prioritise universal health coverage as a foundational investment that could drive progress on all health objectives and advance the overarching goal of ending extreme poverty.

This to them was to help kick start the Sustainable Development Goals, which include achieving universal health coverage and will officially be launched on 1st January, 2016.

Ms Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, noted that when the Rockefeller Foundation first started its work to advance universal health coverage, people saw it as a pipedream.

'Today, we are truly inspired to see how rapidly support for universal health coverage has grown, including its recent recognition in the Sustainable Development Goals,' she said, 'Universal health coverage is key to building resilient health systems that make both people and planet healthier in the face of the increasingly common shocks and stresses posed by climate change, urbanization, and globalization,' she added.

Universal Health Coverage Day, inaugurated by The Rockefeller Foundation, marks the anniversary of the United Nations' unanimous 2012 resolution urging governments to ensure universal access to quality health care without financial hardship.

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, said 'Universal health coverage is one of the most powerful social equalizers among all policy options; and the global community has recognised this approach as a pro-poor pillar of sustainable development that builds social cohesion and stability - valued assets for every country.'

Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda Minister of Health, said; 'Governments have everything to gain when they prioritise human health - it is an investment. I am hopeful for global progress because universal health coverage has been included in the Sustainable Development Goals.'

To address serious gaps in access to lifesaving health interventions, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has established a new High-Level Panel tasked with ensuring access to medicines is improved around the world.

The panel, which convenes for the first time on 11 and 12 December, demonstrates commitment to improve health access at the highest level of the United Nations.

GNA

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