Three WHO reports stress the importance of stepping up government efforts to ensure that health systems are on solid ground and accessible to all citizens.
With the spread of the pandemic, many European countries have taken urgent action to address the shortcomings of their health systems, mainly in the area of primary care. Some of the measures adopted include the expansion of health coverage to include migrants, the suspension of health insurance payments for low-income groups, the consolidation of teleconsultations and free access to tests and anti-viral treatments.
At the same time, these actions are an example of what it would mean to achieve healthcare for all and mechanisms that prevent the exclusion of the most vulnerable groups.
December 12th was Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) commemorated it by reminding governments of the need for strong public health systems that are accessible to everyone.
Coinciding with this anniversary, the WHO office at Sant Pau has published three reports emphasizing the importance of stepping up government efforts to achieve this goal. These publications highlight two shortcomings that have even greater resonance in the current context. First, the right to health services is based on the payment of public health insurance in some countries. This expense is unaffordable to some citizens, more so in the midst of overlapping health, social and economic crises. Second, coverage is not enough. It is also necessary to alleviate the financial difficulties generated by co-payments. This would allow the healthcare system to target those most in need of increased protection.
The WHO also expresses concern about the negative impact of the multiple crises on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially with regard to poverty reduction ( SDG 1.1), income inequality (SDG 10.1) and different access to health coverage (SDG 3.8).