Stories of Change: Countries Making Progress Towards Universal Health Coverage
World leaders committed to scale up efforts in the pursuit of health for all by adopting a United Nations political declaration on universal health coverage (UHC). Through this, United Nations Member States have pledged to invest in mechanisms to ensure no one suffers financial hardship because they have had to pay for health care out of their own pockets, and to implement high-impact health interventions to combat diseases and protect women’s and children’s health.
The declaration was adopted on 23 September 2019, at the high-level meeting on UHC at the United Nations General Assembly.
In the following paragraphs a few examples are depicted which demonstrate how health systems are getting stronger and providing accessible, quality services for citizens:
Out-of-pocket payments for prescription medicines have significantly declined in Estonia, since the government introduced a more people-centred approach that makes paying for prescriptions simpler and cheaper for the patient. By taking a primary health care approach, the government of Tajikistan has been transforming access to rehabilitation services and reaching parts of the population often left behind. It now offers services free of charge to those who need them.
In just over a year, Greece has established almost 120 community-based primary health units, free at the point of access. The units are key elements of Greece’s newly implemented primary health care system and are the first point of contact and the main coordinator of care for people in the area. In June 2017, Kyrgyzstan introduced 3 new laws focused on medicines and medical devices, allowing the state to regulate the prices of essential medicines, making them more affordable to patients. Improving access to quality, essential medicines for the population is a significant measure to strengthen a country’s health system, and a step forwards on the path to UHC.