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 {Photo by Rui Pires. Graphic by Paula Champagne.}Haiku for Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) by Ian Sliney, MSH senior director for health systems strengthening.Photo by Rui Pires. Graphic by Paula Champagne.

Today, over 500 organizations and individuals worldwide are celebrating the first-ever Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day). All week, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) bloggers have shared stories, analysis, photos, and videos, in support of UHC Day and health for all:

Partnering to Make UHC a Reality
"For UHC to succeed worldwide, the global health community must generate what’s still missing: a fully-fledged roadmap for UHC efforts and an architecture for global UHC governance," blogs Jonathan Jay in Devex.

Adding Medicines to the UHC Equation
“Every person, no matter where they live, should have access to quality health services without risking financial hardship. But accessing quality health services is only half of the equation,” blogs Francis Aboagye-Nyame. “Every person should also have available to them medicines that are affordable, safe, effective, and of assured quality.”

 {Photo credit: Ness Kerton / AusAID / DfAT / CC BY}A health worker and a patient in a treatment room at the Susa Mama health clinic in Papua New Guinea. The global collaboration on universal health coverage can’t wind down but must be ramped up.Photo credit: Ness Kerton / AusAID / DfAT / CC BY

Today is Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day). All week, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) staff blogged about universal health coverage (UHC) and why we support health for all this week. 

This post originally appeared in Devex.

Universal health coverage is coming to the world’s developing countries.

 {Photo credit: MSH}Colin Gilmartin, Dr. San San Aye, Uzaib Saya, and David Collins present at HSR 2014.Photo credit: MSH

This post originally appeared on the MSH at the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research conference blog.

On September 30 – October 3, 2014, nearly 3,000 researchers, program managers, and policy makers convened in Cape Town, South Africa for the Third Health Systems Research Symposium (HSR2014) to review evidence and research focused on improving people-centered health systems and service delivery. A key component to strengthening health systems and improving health outcomes is through health care financing mechanisms.

 {Photo credit: MSH/#ToastUHC photo booth/RH}Yvonne Chaka Chaka (center) with members of the UN Mission from Japan (including Toshihisa Nakamura and Masaki Inasa), and Sumie Ishii of JOICFP.Photo credit: MSH/#ToastUHC photo booth/RH

Experience "A Toast to Universal Health Coverage" () through photos and tweets in this Storify story . (Storify is a social media tool for curating digital content, such as photos, videos, links, and tweets.) You can also view the complete Photo album: " Photo Booth" on Facebook. (Share and tag these photos via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or your favorite social media channel, using hashtag .)

 {Photo credit: Todd Shapera.}Mother and daughter at Kigali Hospital, Rwanda.Photo credit: Todd Shapera.

What do the next 500 days mean for global health?

The looming deadline of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will prompt a final push to achieve the health targets that have helped guide the global community since 2000: to reduce maternal and child mortality, provide contraception and curb the HIV, TB and malaria epidemics. Undoubtedly, many people will benefit from vital health services in the next 500 days.    

But many others won’t, and they’re likely to be the people who are already most vulnerable and least served. For example, as maternal deaths have dropped in developing countries, deaths are more concentrated in poor regions; the HIV epidemic still rages in marginalized populations like sex workers and people who use drugs. A key lesson of the MDG era is that nothing contributes to illness more than poverty and exclusion.

In the next 500 days, therefore, many voices will be calling for a new approach to global health in the post-2015 development framework. It’s a dramatic reinvention around a simple idea: that everyone, everywhere, should have affordable access to the health services they need.

{Photo credit: Chelsey Canavan/MSH, in Kenya.}Photo credit: Chelsey Canavan/MSH, in Kenya.

“While Kenya has seen improvements in areas like HIV care and treatment and child survival, many Kenyans still struggle to access basic healthcare,” says Dr. Jonathan D. Quick, President and CEO of Management Sciences for Health (MSH), in an op-ed published today in The People, a Kenyan newspaper.

Quick returned to the country to speak at Kenya’s launch of the Health for All: Campaign for Universal Health Coverage in Africa (Health for All) last month.

In the op-ed, Quick highlights the country’s progress toward universal health coverage (UHC) and the role of Health for All:

The campaign’s role is to help build awareness at national and county levels about the importance of expanding access to healthcare, and to ensure that issues like infrastructure, health workers, and financing receive adequate attention in the planning process.

 {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: 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: 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: MSH} (Left to right) Geoffrey Ratemo of Rutgers University; Senator Godliver Omondi, chair of United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK); Dr. Abdi Dabar Maalim of the Transition Authority; Ndung’u Njoroge of the Transition Authority; and Evanson Minjire of Vision 2030 Secretariat at the first "Health for All" technical working group meeting in Kenya.Photo credit: MSH

The Health for All: Campaign for Universal Health Coverage is working to ensure that challenges that hinder access to quality health care in Kenya are addressed. The campaign aims to ensure that governments and stakeholders in health services delivery prioritize strengthening infrastructure, human resource for health, and health care financing to improve service delivery.

The campaign will official launch on April 28, 2014 with the theme, "Health systems strengthening for universal health coverage".

In preparation for this launch, the campaign team has recruited a Technical Working Group to spearhead the campaign. At the first meeting on January 21, 2014, the team identified the health systems strengthening theme and three sub themes for the campaign: strengthening infrastructure, human resource for health, and health care financing.

[Campaign partners at the messaging workshop in Kenya.] {Photo credit: MSH}Campaign partners at the messaging workshop in Kenya.Photo credit: MSH

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