This piece was first published on Huffington Post.
The affordability of health care is an issue familiar to most of us, whether we live in affluent nations, emerging economies or low-income countries. Now, imagine a world in which everyone has equitable access to high quality health services and where maintaining good health no longer carries the risk of financial ruin — the core tenets of universal health coverage (UHC). On December 12, 2012, a unanimous UN assembly did just that, declaring their commitment to take steps toward achieving health for all, a decision we mark today during the first official observance of UHC Day.
Poverty should no longer mean poor health, nor should ill health lead to poverty. That is the promise of UHC. It is widely recognized that good health reduces poverty, improves educational performance, increases productivity, and as a result, stimulates economic growth. Every dollar invested in health care may produce between $9 and $20 worth of economic growth by 2035. As UN Member States negotiate the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), health-related targets, (currently considered under Goal 3 ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’) should be viewed through the UHC lens. Doing so has the potential to transform populations’ health — especially of the world’s poor — for the better, enabling a better environment for economic development.
Read the full blog here.