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

December 12 marks the second annual global Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, and what a year it has been.

Through legal reform and new programs, many countries — like Burkina Faso and Iran — have made important progress on the path to UHC. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) announced in September reinforced the world's commitment to UHC; the third SDG calls for "good health and well-being" and includes a target of achieving universal health coverage.

Now that goals and targets have been set, indicators to track progress are being agreed upon, and we must focus on the implementation, monitoring and accountability of these goals. Accountability — encompassing the interconnected functions of monitoring, review, and remedial action — is imperative to guiding implementation and accelerating progress across the SDGs.

{Photo Credit: Sara Holtz/MSH}Photo Credit: Sara Holtz/MSH

As the world begins working toward the newly developed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ensuring access to reproductive health supplies must be considered.

More than 100 countries are in the process of adopting or advancing universal health coverage (UHC) mechanisms to achieve the targets set for Goal 3, which calls for “good health and well-being.”

Despite the momentum, 400 million people lack access to at least one of seven life-saving health services. And in 2012, an estimated 222 million women lacked access to effective family planning. FP2020’s goal of enabling 120 million women and girls to use modern contraception requires countries to include sexual and reproductive health services and supplies when discussing health benefits packages under national insurance laws, policies, and other related UHC efforts. Moreover, marginalized populations should be prioritized for free or subsidized care.

{Photo Credit: Warren Zelman}Photo Credit: Warren Zelman

The universal health coverage (UHC) movement has reached a turning point. With an unprecedented coalition of global partners rallying behind the UHC movement, the inclusion of UHC as a key aim of the newly launched sustainable development goals, and growing recognition of health as a human right, the real work of achieving UHC has begun – many countries are now grappling with the challenge of making UHC a reality.

As a key partner in bringing the UHC agenda to the forefront of the global community MSH is on the leading edge of translating this global momentum into tangible gains for women, children, and families at the country level. This UHC Day, MSH is working to advance by recognizing that UHC means that people should have access to not only the health services they need, but also to the essential medicines and heath commodities that help to treat many of the most serious global health threats.

Ensuring equitable and affordable access to medicines is a key component of achieving UHC, but one that is often left out of the conversation. As many low- and middle-income countries start implementing a range of UHC policies, programs, and initiatives, MSH is taking steps to ensure that access to medicines remains on the agenda.

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

Post updated December 19, 2014.

This post originally appeared on the Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program Blog. Funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), SIAPS works to assure the availability of quality pharmaceutical products and effective pharmaceutical services to achieve desired health outcomes.

On Friday, December 12, 2014, over 500 partners from the global health community will come together to commemorate the first Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day. Although marking the day is new, support for the concept has been building for several years–-and momentum for it continues to grow. Dr. Margaret Chan, Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), framed it as “the single most powerful concept public health has to offer.”

 {Photo credit: Fred Hartman/MSH}Billboard, Liberia.Photo credit: Fred Hartman/MSH

[Universal Health Coverage Day.]Universal Health Coverage Day.Management Sciences for Health (MSH) bloggers are discussing universal health coverage (UHC) and why we support health for all this week, leading up to Dec. 12, UHC Day. MSH is a founding member of the UHC Day coalition. Today, MSH authors Chelsey Canavan, Jonathan Jay, and Dr. Jonathan D. Quick discuss if, and how, UHC could help prevent major outbreaks, like the current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.

This post originally appeared on Devex.

Dec. 12, marks Universal Health Coverage Day, the second anniversary of a United Nations resolution endorsing UHC as a global priority. The last two years have seen a growing consensus that pursuing UHC will save lives and alleviate poverty, especially in developing countries.

Meanwhile, the devastating Ebola crisis continues to claim lives and stifle opportunity in West Africa. Observers were quick to note that UHC could have helped arrest the spread of Ebola, yet countries like Nigeria, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo — all quite early on their paths toward UHC — have successfully contained Ebola outbreaks.

So is UHC really the answer?

Ebola shows us that more resources must go toward public health infrastructure. That’s an important lesson for UHC reforms, which could easily overlook those investments in favor of individual health services. UHC strategies can’t rest on individual service delivery to mitigate major health threats. When we imagine UHC, we should see institutions and organizations actively promoting the public’s health—long before the need for emergency response.

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

Staff contributors at Management Sciences for Health (MSH), a founding member of the UHC Day coalition, are blogging this week about universal health coverage, including sharing fresh videos, photos, and analysis, inspired by the five reasons to support health for all. Each day we also include how you can take action right away to support health for all.

Today, we highlight reason two ("Because UHC is attainable") with video and stories from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria--countries working toward UHC.

Because Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is Attainable

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 {Photo credit: Anteneh Lemma/MSH}The Health for All Campaign in Kenya is hosting a series of debates on universal health coverage.Photo credit: Anteneh Lemma/MSH

“I wish I had called this event,” said Mr. Simone Ole Kirgotty, CEO of Kenyan National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). This came as a surprise to many since the CEO was bombarded with critical questions and comments about the activities of the organization he has been leading for the last two years. “If it was new for me to lead such a controversial organization, I would have run away after all these comments,” added Mr. Kirgotty cheerfully.

It was during a public debate in Nairobi, organized by the Health for All: Campaign for Universal Health Coverage in Africa (Health for All Campaign), that the CEO of Kenya NHIF made these remarks. The debate, entitled: “Improving Communications to Scale up Public Engagement with NHIF: Challenges and Prospects,” was part of a series of debates being conducted in seven counties in Kenya. As highlighted by Dr. Daraus Bukenya, Country Representative for MSH Kenya, the major objective of the debates is to get clarity on NHIF activities, to create a platform for community engagement, and to identify and put together recommendations to NHIF to work toward universal health coverage in Kenya. The first debate was held on November 17, 2014 in Nyeri.

{Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.}Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.

#HealthforAll. Everywhere. ]" width="200">. Everywhere. Post updated: December 9, 2014, 11:30 am EST

On Friday, December 12, 2014, a global coalition will launch the first-ever Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) and call for universal health coverage (UHC) to be a cornerstone of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and a priority for all nations. UHC Day encourages civil society organizations from around the globe to publicly display support of UHC and health for all on Friday. Over four hundred organizations have already joined the call.

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