Health care for all by 2030: India at UNGA
India’s expansion of public health programmes, such as expanding vaccination under Mission Indradhanush and sanitation services under Swachh Bharat is winning global accolades, including the Goalkeepers award from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.Updated: Sep 24, 2019 08:20 IST
World leaders adopted a high-level United Nations Political Declaration on universal health coverage (UHC) at the opening plenary of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) high-level week that began on Monday. It is the most comprehensive set of health commitments ever adopted.
Countries, including India, made a financial and political commitment to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage by scaling up essential health services, affording financial risk protection and access to safe, quality, effective and affordable medicines and vaccines for all.
“This declaration represents a landmark for global health and development. The world has 11 years left to make good on its sustainable development goals. UHC is key to ensuring that happens,” said World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
This is the first UHC meeting at the UNGA, where countries meet in September in New York every year to discuss the critical issues of global concern.
This is the most significant political meeting to date on the UHC, which is defined as everyone having access to the health care they need, when and where they need it, without facing financial hardship.
“India is making commendable strides towards SDG 3 [sustainable development goals], the health goal, and the mission that underpins it in achieving UHC. Under the ambitious double-pronged Ayushman Bharat programme, India is creating 150,000 health and wellness centres to provide an expanded range of primary health services closer to communities. It covers half-a-billion people with the world’s largest health insurance scheme,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director for South-East Asia, WHO, on the sidelines of the plenary.
India’s expansion of public health programmes, such as expanding vaccination under Mission Indradhanush and sanitation services under Swachh Bharat is winning global accolades, including the Goalkeepers award from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“UHC is the platform on which our health goals can be achieved to benefit all sections of our population. India needs a well-resourced health system to deliver UHC by 2030 across the country. While there is a visible political commitment to that goal, greater investment is needed through public financing and strengthening of the public sector health services,” said Dr Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India.
“Primary care, in particular, needs to be fortified as it is the most universal component of health services,” said Dr Reddy.