Universal Health Coverage

Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

{Photo credit: Todd Shapera.}Photo credit: Todd Shapera.

In a health clinic outside Nairobi, Kenya, Janet* waits to see a doctor. Janet is a 32-year-old widow and mother of four from Kibera, a neighborhood of Nairobi. Her 11-year-old daughter, Jane*, isn’t feeling well. Both mother and daughter are HIV-positive.

Janet and Jane are lucky to live walking distance to the Langata Health Center, where they receive high-quality health care for free. Jane has been on antiretroviral medication for more than two years. Janet hasn’t paid a shilling. Around the world, millions of people living with HIV struggle to pay for care, or receive none at all. But Janet and Jane are among the 600,000 Kenyans whose HIV care is free through programs from the Government of Kenya, US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program, and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

Janet wishes everyone could receive the same care that she does at Langata. But even for her, the system just barely works. She explains:

The doctor is only one, and we are many.

Patients at Langata face long waits to see a doctor or pick up their medications. Patients like Janet spend hours away from work and may have to arrange for child care.

 {Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye/MSH.}(from left) Dereje Haile and Tsedenia Gebremarkos during the filming of a health insurance themed episode of the popular ETV show, Question and Answer Competition.Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye/MSH.

We will sprint in the last round like our athletes. That is the Ethiopian style.

So says the famous Ethiopian comedian Dereje Haile. His team is lagging behind in the first round of the popular Ethiopian Television (ETV) game show, Question and Answer Competition.

Haile is the source of constant laughter since before the filming of the show, when he performed a quick physical exercise, as if about to enter into a boxing ring. His teammate, Kora Music Award winner and pop star, Tsedenya Gebremarkos, confirms Haile’s words, and promises the audience they will do better in the second round.

On the other side of the stage stand the other two contestants: the well-known Ethiopian poet, Tagel Seifu, and the famous journalist and actress, Haregewoyn Assefa.

They look confident, leading in the first round.

 {Photo credit: Brooke Huskey/MSH.}Photo credit: Brooke Huskey/MSH.

This post is part of our Global Health Impact series on the 67th World Health Assembly (" href="http://www.msh.org/blog-tags/wha67">WHA67), held in Geneva, May 18-24, 2014. This year, MSH co-hosted three side events focusing on the role of universal health coverage (May 20), chronic diseases (May 20), and governance for health (May 21) in the post-2015 framework. Six MSH representatives attended WHA as part of the 60-plus-person Global Health Council (GHC) delegation.

{Photo credit: MSH}Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez of USAID.Photo credit: MSH

This blog post, cross-posted with permission from The Leadership, Managment, and Governance (LMG) project blog on LMGforHealth.org, is part of our Global Health Impact series on the 67th World Health Assembly in Geneva, May 18-24, 2014. MSH is co-hosting three side events focusing on the role of universal health coverage (May 20), chronic diseases (May 20), and governance for health (May 21) in the post-2015 framework. This year, six MSH representatives are attending WHA as part of the 60-plus-person Global Health Council (GHC) delegation.

We have been investing substantially in the health sector. But have we been getting optimal benefits for our investments? No!

We could get more benefits if we have better governance.

~ Uganda's Minister of Health, H.E. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, at Wednesday's side event at the 67th World Health Assembly

{Photo credit: Rui Pires.}Photo credit: Rui Pires.

Cross-posted with permission from WBUR's CommonHealth Blog.

A study released last week found that insurance is saving lives in Massachusetts. Expanded coverage will mean 3,000 fewer deaths over the next 10 years. We have state-of-the-art health facilities and are among the healthiest of Americans. Despite the fiasco of our failed enrollment website, the state maintains near-universal health coverage, and inspired the Affordable Care Act.

Our example is heartening not just for America, but for the many low- and middle-income countries around the world working toward universal health coverage. These countries aren’t just taking a page from our book, though — they have valuable lessons for us, too.

Here are four things Massachusetts could learn about health from developing countries:

 {Photo credit: Crystal Lander/MSH}Gloria Sangiwa (left), MSH Senior Director of Technical Quality and Innovation and Global Technical Lead on Chronic Diseases, talks with another delegate at the Global Health Council (GHC) welcome reception.Photo credit: Crystal Lander/MSH

This blog post is part of our Global Health Impact series on the 67th World Health Assembly in Geneva, May 18-24, 2014. MSH is co-hosting three side events focusing on the role of universal health coverage (May 20), chronic diseases (May 20), and governance for health (May 21) in the post-2015 framework. This year, six MSH representatives are attending WHA as part of the 60-plus-person Global Health Council (GHC) delegation.

Sunday was my first day in Geneva for the World Health Assembly (WHA). I attended WHA last year for the first time, and I am feeling a bit like a second-year college student.

As I prepared for this year’s meeting, a few colleagues asked me: Why is the WHA so important to global health policy? Who attends these things and why? I instantly responded to the questions somewhat defensively: "It’s the WHA--that’s why!"

Unpublished
{Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

Please join Management Sciences for Health (MSH) at the 67th World Health Assembly (WHA), May 18-23, 2014, in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHA is the supreme decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), and is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States.

This year, six MSH representatives will attend as part of the 60-plus-person Global Health Council (GHC) delegation.

MSH will co-host three side events focusing on the role of universal health coverage (May 20), chronic diseases (May 20), and governance for health (May 21) in the post-2015 framework.

UHC and Post-2015 Health Discussion

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
10h00 – 13h00 CET

Centre de Conventions de Varembé
Salle C, 9-11 rue de Varembé, Geneva

 {Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH.}Youth delegates at the World Conference on Youth in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH.

Good governance is like a large elephant, Ahmed Adamu, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council, said. One person can touch the trunk, one the stomach, and one the tail, and they have had very different experiences with the elephant. Around the world, everyone has different experiences and different perceptions of good governance. With this anecdote, Adamu, a speaker at the plenary, “Achieving Good Governance and Accountability” at the 2014 World Conference on Youth, captures the challenges of defining good governance often cited in more academic terms. Though the concept of good governance is up for interpretation, there is consensus across countries, generations, and sectors that it is sorely needed. According to a consultation by Restless Development with young people in 12 countries , overall, governance is their most important issue that should be addressed in the post-2015 dialogue. And while good governance might be their most pressing concern, according to Subinay Nandy, Sri Lanka’s Resident Coordinator to the United Nations, it is young people themselves who are the most important tool international agencies can use to guarantee good governance.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

For the mother who walks miles for health,

Carrying a near-lifeless child on her back,

We envision a world…

 

For the mother, living with HIV, who mentors others,

Helping to prevent transmission of the disease,

We envision a world…

 

For the mother who must choose

Improving the health of a parent or educating a child,

We envision a world…

 

For the mother who births, the mother who feeds,

And the mother who cares for a child,

We envision a world...

 

Where -- all mothers, all children -- everyone

Has the opportunity for a healthy life.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours!

 

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