- Poverty is arising as people are paying for health service: UN
- Unequal distribution of vaccines has been a global moral failure: UN
- Pandemic will not end for any country until it ends for every country: UN
New York: The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to halt two decades of global progress towards Universal Health Coverage, according to reports released on Sunday from the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank, which reveal more than half a billion people are being pushed into extreme poverty because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets.
The findings launched on International Universal Health Coverage Day, highlighting the devastating impact of COVID-19 on people’s ability to obtain healthcare and pay for it.
In his message marking the Day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that with the third year of the pandemic fast approaching, “we must urgently strengthen our health systems to ensure they are equitable, resilient and capable of meeting everyone’s needs, including for their mental health.”
He added that “the shockwaves of this health emergency are hitting hardest those countries that lack health systems capable of providing quality, affordable care for all.”
If the world is to reach the goal of achieving universal health coverage by 2030, there needs to be a greater commitment from governments to invest in and scale up proven solutions.
This means making more and smarter investments in the foundations of health systems, with an emphasis on primary health care, essential services and marginalized populations, said Mr Guterres.
The best insurance for resilient economies and communities, is strengthening health systems before crises emerge.
The unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the past year has been a global moral failure. We must learn from this experience. The pandemic will not end for any country until it ends for every country, said the UN chief.
In 2020, the pandemic disrupted health services and stretched countries’ health systems beyond their limits. As a result, for example, immunization coverage dropped for the first time in ten years, and deaths from TB and malaria increased, said the news release from WHO and the World Bank.
The pandemic also triggered the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, making it increasingly difficult for people to pay for life-saving healthcare.
Even before the pandemic, half a billion people were being pushed (or pushed still further) into extreme poverty because of payments they made for healthcare. The organizations expect that that number is now considerably higher.
There is no time to spare, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
All governments must immediately resume and accelerate efforts to ensure every one of their citizens can access health services without fear of the financial consequences. This means strengthening public spending on health and social support, and increasing their focus on primary health care systems that can provide essential care close to home.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.