The World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated their 70th World Health Day on 7 April 2018, dedicating 2018 as a year to promote universal healthcare as a basic human right.

A Global Issue

The World Bank and WHO reported that at least half of the world’s population is currently unable to obtain essential healthcare services. Almost 100 million people are being forced into extreme poverty, surviving on just USD 1.90 or less a day due to having to pay for health services out of their own pockets.

More than 800 million people spend at least 10% of their household budgets on health expenses either for themselves, a sick child or other family members – incurring catastrophic expenditures which is a global problem.

Even wealthy countries in Europe, Latin America and parts of Asia that have achieved prominent levels of access to health services have an increasing number of people who spend at least 10% of their household budgets on health expenses, underscoring how widespread this problem is.

“No one should have to choose between death and financial hardship. No one should have to choose between buying medicine and buying food.” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.

Achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals 2015

A healthy nation leads to better productivity. Having access to essential health services not only enhances the society’s health and life expectancy, but also reduces poverty and the risk of hunger, protects countries from epidemics, creates jobs and drives economic growth.

The full list of Sustainable Development Goals 2015. Photo credit: WHO
The full list of Sustainable Development Goals 2015. Photo credit: WHO

On 25-27 September 2015, a summit was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. More than 150 world leaders gathered there to discuss the global course of action to end poverty, protect the environment, address climate change and promote prosperity and well-being for all. At the conclusion of the summit, these leaders agreed to adopt the 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 targets to meet these goals.

The third goal for the Sustainable Development Goals is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all regardless of age. Part 3.8 is focused on achieving universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

In conjunction with the 70th World Health Day anniversary, WHO is turning to the world leaders to fulfil their pledges to the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. MIMS

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