From poverty to prosperity, why universal health coverage is a must

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank, roughly 400 million people around the world do not have access to any essential health services, and many families in low- and middle-income countries are being pushed further into extreme poverty because of exorbitant health care costs.

That is why achieving universal health coverage (UHC) is a key priority for WHO and the new WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who assumed office earlier this month. “Ensuring universal health coverage must be the foundation for the Sustainable Development Goals, aimed at ending poverty and inequality by 2030. When people are healthy, their families, communities, and countries thrive,” he recently said.

Universal health coverage aims to provide affordable, high-quality health care to every man, women, and child across the globe, regardless of income, racial ethnicity, or the stability of a country. In addition to expanding access to quality health care, financial protection (often in the form of health insurance programs) is also a key pillar of UHC to help ensure that no one is forced into poverty due to health care costs.

 
During the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) from July 10-19 in New York City, world leaders and civil society partners are coming together to discuss how far we have come in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including reviewing the new report, “Progress Towards the Sustainable Development Goals,” which will highlight the progress made on SDGs and where more support is needed to achieve them.

Building on WHO’s commitment to UHC, on July 17 during the HLPF, the UHC2030 International Health Partnership will host an event, “End Extreme Poverty and Share Prosperity through Achieving UHC by 2030,” where WHO will present a new report that will be published in the Lancet Global Health, “Cost Estimates of Attaining SDG3.” The report will provide recommendations and estimates for the investments needed to achieve the health targets in the SDGs in 67 low- and middle-income countries.

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