Universal Health Coverage

Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

 {Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye/MSH.}MSH staff Grace Gatebi and Patrick Borruet at the MSH Kenya UHC Symposium photo exhibition.Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye/MSH.

The goal of universal health coverage (UHC) is to improve equitable access to health services while protecting households from impoverishing out-of-pocket health spending. In principle, UHC means that lifesaving services and medicines will be accessible and affordable for those who need them. To create deeper awareness of UHC in Kenya, Management Sciences for Health Kenya (MSH Kenya) country office organized a symposium on setting the national health agenda post 2015, called, “Achieving Universal Health Coverage through Stronger Health Systems”.

During the symposium, MSH Kenya organized a photography contest. MSH staff submitted photographs on the theme of “Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Kenya – Financing, Quality, Access and Essential Medicines” (with a focus on the most vulnerable populations). An independent jury selected 19 of the photos for an exhibition at the symposium.

 {Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye Lemma/MSH.}Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Health James Macharia (left) and MSH President Jonathan D. Quick (right) sign the canvas pledge.Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye Lemma/MSH.

I felt like I had traded my mother’s health for my children’s schooling. It was a tough choice, and I cried every day.

This emotional remark was made by Lucy Njoki, a Kenyan mother and grandmother, at the Health for All Campaign Launch Event on April 28, 2014, in Nairobi. She had been forced to choose between paying for her children’s education or her mother’s urgently needed medical treatment. She could not afford both. Affordable and accessible health care remain an unrealized dream for many Kenyan citizens.  

Unfortunately, Lucy’s story is not uncommon. Lucy represents millions of people who are pushed into poverty due to catastrophic health expenditures in Kenya. The Health for All: Campaign for Universal Health Coverage in Africa is building awareness and advocating for universal health coverage (UHC) in Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Kenya. Implemented effectively, UHC ensures that all people have access to the quality services they need, without suffering financial hardship.

 {Photo credit: <a href="http://www.kwibuka.rw/">Kwibuka 20</a>}The #Kwibuka20 Flame of Remembrance burning bright at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, Rwanda.Photo credit: Kwibuka 20

Twenty years ago, the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi began in Rwanda. Nearly a million people were slaughtered from April through July, 1994.

In 2003, the UN General Assembly designated April 7 as International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. This year, to mark the 20th anniversary, the Republic of Rwanda launched Kwibuka20 (“Remember20”), a series of events commemorating the tragedy and honoring the nearly one million Rwandans who lost their lives.

The theme of Kwibuka20, “Remember, Unite, Renew”, also celebrates the remarkable story of resilience and hope of the Rwandan people, who are building a new, prosperous, and cohesive society. Kwibuka20 calls on the global community to stand together against genocide in three key ways:

 {Photo credit: MSH}(From left) Hiwot Emishaw (Health for All Campaign); Dr. Femi Thomas (National Health Insurance Scheme); Prof. Khama Rogo (Health in African Initiative, International Finance Corporation in Nigeria); Hon. Minister of Health, Prof. C.O. Onyebuchi; Amb. Bala Sanni (Federal Ministry of Health); Nuhu M. Zabagyi (NHIS Board Chairman); Marie Francoise Marie Nelly (World Bank Country Representative); Pieter Walhof (PharmAccess Foundation); Abuja, March 9, 2014.Photo credit: MSH

In Nigeria, the Health for All: Campaign for Universal Health Coverage in Africa is effectively collaborating with stakeholders to support the government move toward universal health coverage (UHC).  Led by MSH and funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, the Health for All Campaign co-hosted a National Stakeholders Meeting on UHC in conjunction with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and PharmAccess Foundation on March 9, 2014. The prior day, March 8, the campaign hosted a media forum on “Effective coverage of progress towards universal health coverage in Nigeria.”

 {Photo credit: Paula Champagne/MSH.}MSH country representatives, Mr. Bada Pharasi (South Africa), Ziyanda Ngoma (South Africa), Ana Diaz (Angola), Dr. Negussu Mekonnen (Ethiopia), and Percy Ramirez (Angola).Photo credit: Paula Champagne/MSH.

Pablos-Méndez Applauds and Encourages MSH Representatives and Partners at DC Country Health Impact Fair

Representatives from 13 MSH countries—Afghanistan, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda—shared stories and materials about the lives saved and health impact of MSH’s work, in partnership with US Agency for International Development (USAID) and others, at the MSH Country Health Impact Fair at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC, last week. Country ownership and health impact were common themes at the fair.

Ariel Pablos-Méndez (MD, MPH), assistant administrator for global health at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), addressed participants and attendees.

 {Photo credit: Paula Champagne/MSH}Ariel Pablos-Méndez (USAID) and Jonathan D. Quick (MSH) spoke at the MSH Country Health Impact Fair on April 9.Photo credit: Paula Champagne/MSH

MSH extends our thanks to Ariel Pablos-Méndez (MD, MPH), assistant administrator for global health at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), for addressing the MSH Country Health Impact Fair participants and attendees on Wednesday, April 9, at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC.

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

Happy World Health Day from MSH!

Ten country representatives, on behalf of MSH's 2,100-plus worldwide staff, wish YOU, your families, communities, and countries a happy World Health Day, and a world where EVERYONE has the opportunity for a healthy life! [Video below]

At MSH, we save lives by closing the gap between knowledge and action in public health, using proven approaches developed over 40 years to help leaders, health managers, and communities in low- and middle-income nations build stronger health systems for greater health impact. We envision a world where everyone has the opportunity for a healthy life!

 {Photo courtesy of Erik Törner/Individuell Människohjälp.}Health clinic in Kathmandu, Nepal.Photo courtesy of Erik Törner/Individuell Människohjälp.

Cross-posted with permission from The Wilson Center’s NewSecurityBeat.org.

The global maternal health agenda has been largely defined by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the last decade and half, but what will happen after they expire in 2015? What kind of framework is needed to continue the momentum towards eliminating preventable maternal deaths and morbidities? [Video Below]

For a panel of experts gathered at the Wilson Center on February 20, universal health coverage is a powerful mechanism that may be crucial to finishing the job.

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

This post originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) Blog as part of a series celebrating the one-year anniversary of The Lancet publishing “A Manifesto for Maternal Health post-2015,” co-authored by Ana Langer, Richard Horton, and Guerino Chalamilla.

In celebration of the one-year anniversary of the Manifesto for Maternal Health, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) congratulates our global community, including ministries of health, their partners, and the women we serve and work with, on the progress made toward creating a healthier world for mothers and their babies.

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

The Millennium Development Goals, due to expire next year, have defined an era of global health. Since their adoption in 2000, the global AIDS response has scaled up massively; childhood immunization has become the norm in most settings; and many more women can access the family planning and reproductive healthcare they need. The MDGs coincided with, and perhaps helped to usher, a “Golden Age” of global health funding, which supported hard work and innovation that saved millions of lives.

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