#UHCDay

{Photo credit: Tsion Issayas/MSH}Photo credit: Tsion Issayas/MSH

This post originally appeared on the Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program blog as, "UHC Day 2016: Strong pharmaceutical management boosts access to essential medicines".

On this day (December 12) in 2014, the global health community made a commitment to universal health coverage (UHC) throughout the world. Although progress has been made, more than one billion people still lack access to basic health care. Further, as The Lancet Commission report, Essential Medicines for Universal Health Coverage, said in November, most low-income countries lack structural access to even basic essential medicines.

Bridging this gap requires system-wide interventions, such as strengthening the role of government, better medicines regulation, promoting quality use, and more transparency and accountability. These activities can reap big benefits.

With a sound pharmaceutical system, “for US $1–2 per month, every person in low-income and middle-income countries can have access to a basket of about 200 essential medicines,” according to the report.

{Photo by Warren Zelman}Photo by Warren Zelman

We all have an unprecedented opportunity to make universal health coverage a reality.

As a founding partner of the Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) Coalition, Management Sciences for Health is joining forces with the global health community and urging everyone to take action toward universal health coverage on December 12.

UHC Day is founded on the idea that no one should go bankrupt when they get sick, that universal health coverage is a smart investment and an achievable goal everywhere, and that it underpins our collective security and prosperity.

MSH is doing our part to make UHC a reality by:

{Free antenatal and postnatal services encourage women to seek care at health facilities. Antenatal visits are of particular importance for awareness and early screening for chronic illnesses, which can avert costly treatment and save lives. (Photo credit: Adam Kone)}Free antenatal and postnatal services encourage women to seek care at health facilities. Antenatal visits are of particular importance for awareness and early screening for chronic illnesses, which can avert costly treatment and save lives. (Photo credit: Adam Kone)

This article was originally posted on the NCD Alliance's website. 

A few weeks ago I visited a health center in Freetown, the main port city and commercial center in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The health center is one of few health facilities serving the city, located in an urban area that is home to an estimated 1 million people. The clinic offers free antenatal care during pregnancy as part of the government's commitment to ensuring health care reaches all citizens.

The risk of a woman dying during pregnancy has long been unacceptably high in Sierra Leone, a problem that only worsened when Ebola hit in 2014. According to the latest figures from 2015, Sierra Leone has the worst maternal mortality ratio in the world. It is estimated that the lifetime risk of death during pregnancy and childbirth is 1 in 17. The burden of newborn deaths is also among the world’s highest, with a newborn mortality rate of 35 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015.

{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: 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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