Universal Health Coverage

Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

 {Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye Lemma/MSH.}Producing a TV spot on social health insurance in Ethiopia.Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye Lemma/MSH.

It was sudden and unexpected. It was also funny: the ball exploded and deflated right under Teferi's foot. But everybody started to worry when the director screamed: “We can’t shoot the next scene without the football! Somebody get me a new one!”

I looked at the young boy actor. Tears were about to wash his gloomy face as the ball changed into a useless piece of flat plastic right before his cloudy eyes. "This is bad!" I said to myself. "The kid might not be willing to act anymore; we might be forced to start the production all over again!"

We were shooting one of the scenes for a TV public service announcement. Producing the TV spot is one of the major activities for the Health for All Campaign–the campaign supporting the popularization of Ethiopia’s New Health Insurance Scheme.

It was ironic: the TV spot promotes preparing for unforeseen emergencies. Yet, once the ball became useless, we realized that we were not ready for an emergency ourselves.

 {Photo credit: Jonathan Jay/MSH.}Dr. Jonathan D. Quick discusses the way forward for UHC with Ariel Pablos-Méndez of USAID (far right), Gina Lagomarsino of Results for Development (center), and Tim Evans of World Bank (second to left). Nellie Bristol of CSIS (far left) moderates.Photo credit: Jonathan Jay/MSH.

"Health care is a right for everyone -- rich or poor."

~ Jim Yong Kim in opening keynote at

SmartGlobalHealth.org " href="https://twitter.com/SmartGlblHealth/status/423100667532566528">notified viewers that technical difficulties would prevent a live webcast; but organizations and individuals tweeting provided realtime coverage of today's "Universal Health Coverage in Emerging Economies" conference at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).

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

MSH President & CEO Dr. Quick on 9:30 AM panel; Watch webcast below

Hosted by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), the one-day conference, "Universal Health Coverage in Emerging Economies," will feature Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank and other high-level panelists examining how universal health coverage (UHC) could improve health in low- and middle-income countries while preserving economic gains.

MSH President and CEO Dr. Jonathan D. Quick will join Ariel Pablos-Méndez of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Gina Lagomarsino of Results for Development, and Tim Evans of World Bank, for a 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. roundtable, moderated by Nellie Bristol of CSIS. Kim will give the opening keynote; Nils Daulaire of the US Department of Health and Human Services will address attendees during lunch.

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

In a new article in PLoS Medicine, MSH President and CEO Jonathan D. Quick argues that the global movement towards universal health coverage (UHC) can be a boon for women’s health—but only if it is designed, implemented and monitored correctly. The piece, coauthored by MSH’s Jonathan Jay and Harvard School Public Health’s Ana Langer, considers UHC’s ascendance as a leading priority in global health and addresses concerns that UHC efforts might leave women’s health behind.

The authors propose a “gender-sensitive approach” to UHC which would prioritize key women’s health interventions, respond to social and economic barriers to care, and judge health systems according to their performance in women’s health. This approach could guide policymakers and advocates at the country and global level, with an eye towards the position of UHC in the post-2015 United Nations development framework.

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

MSH's current newsletter (November/December 2013) features stories about the people on the frontlines improving health and saving lives: health workers.

A Note from Dr. Jonathan D. Quick

My MSH colleagues Mary O'Neil and Jonathan Jay blog about what we can learn from the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, held this November in Recife, Brazil:

Recife Top Ten: Together Toward Health for All

 {Photo credit: Eric Miller}Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, accepts the offer to wear an HIV-Positive T-shirt.Photo credit: Eric Miller

(Also see MSH's official statement mourning the death of Nelson Mandela. —Eds.)

I am only one of thousands of young South Africans who left our country in our teen years, fleeing persecution for our political beliefs and actions, and believing that by leaving our country we would regroup and come back to contribute to the overthrow of the apartheid, racist regime.

Did we really believe that would happen?

I must say that the overwhelming urge for us to go on with the struggle and belief was the specter of Nelson Mandela addressing us in “Freedom Square” one day soon. What was most amazing about Madiba is that, for decades, we led protest marches all over the world without even knowing what he looked like, for the regime had banned all pictures of him and all we had was an artist’s impression of what he should have looked like.

The Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health convened in Recife, Brazil from November 10-13, 2013.The Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health convened in Recife, Brazil from November 10-13, 2013.

The Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health (HRH Forum) brought together some 2,000 representatives of government, academia, professional associations, and civil society from 93 World Health Organization (WHO) Member States. Participants took stock of the current state of the global health workforce and committed to working toward universal health coverage (UHC), culminating in adoption of the Recife Declaration (PDF). "Country after country has outlined actions that will ultimately transform and improve the landscape for health workers, and prioritize their needs in a world with ever growing demands being placed on them," said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation and Executive Director a.i. of the Global Health Workforce Alliance.

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

This post originally appeared on Devex.com.

Worldwide, there are severe shortfalls in the health workforce—not just in the quantity of doctors, nurses and other health workers, but in their management, performance and geographical distribution.

These shortfalls are particularly glaring in light of the global movement for universal health coverage, progress toward which will require a high-functioning workforce.

This month’s third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, which convened global health policymakers in Recife, Brazil, trumpeted the need for political commitment to health workforce strengthening. With UHC a top priority of conference sponsors like the World Health Organization, conference discussions were framed as seeking solutions—such as improving retention and performance, or health workers’ advocacy—“toward UHC.”

 {Photo credit: Ben Greenberg/MSH}Priya Bery and Professor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’OPhoto credit: Ben Greenberg/MSH

Earlier this month, on November 5, at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art, MSH held a special event: a photography exhibition and global health discussion, moderated by Tom Ashbrook of NPR's On Point. The photos on display were by the 2012 MSH photography fellows who documented our life-saving work in Africa with people at all levels of the health system—from households to health workers to doctors and nurses to government officials and ministers of health. 

Tom Ashbrook led our panelists in a discussion of their visions for a world where everyone has the opportunity for a healthy life. The panelists were:

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