Universal Health Coverage Day: Don’t neglect anyone’s health December 12, 2021 – Global
12 December 2021, Dubai – Today the world marks Universal Health Coverage Day – the annual rallying point for the growing movement to secure the right to health for everyone, everywhere.
Universal Health Coverage Day marks the anniversary of the historic and unanimous endorsement by the United Nations of a resolution in 2012 urging countries to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) – aimed at ensuring that people can access the quality health services they need, without suffering financial hardship.
The theme of this year’s campaign is “Never leave anyone’s health behind: invest in health systems for all”. This reflects the vital importance of building stronger, safer and fairer health systems that can deliver essential health services to all who need them in a timely manner, despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19.
Countries in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region have joined the global movement for UHC, reinforcing their commitment to achieving UHC through the 2018 Salalah Declaration and the United Nations High Level Meeting on CSU in 2019. However, progress since then has been mixed, and the COVID -19 pandemic has represented a huge setback.
“The pandemic has revealed weaknesses in health systems around the world and, in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, has exacerbated health inequalities and made the situation of vulnerable populations even more precarious. Health systems in our Region have been under extreme pressure, with severe disruptions to immunization campaigns and other essential health services,” said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for Eastern Mediterranean, at a joint celebration hosted today by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention. at EXPO 2020 Dubai.
In his speech at the opening of the celebration, His Excellency Abdul Rahman Bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention of the United Arab Emirates, thanked the WHO for choosing the United Arab Emirates to host this global event to build capacity, scale up efforts, and leverage accumulated experiences and knowledge to bring about tangible change for the benefit of humanity and public health.
“By organizing this event, which coincides with the celebrations of the 50th National Day of the United Arab Emirates, in cooperation with WHO and Expo 2020 Dubai, we are sending a positive message to rekindle hope and optimism for the world that we are able to build together a better and healthy future for generations to come and to promote equal opportunity in health services across the world, which is a basic human right and a fundamental priority to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” added Al Owais.
The Minister of Health affirmed the UAE’s support for hosting joint international initiatives and events to promote UHC, based on the values of brotherhood, human solidarity and equal rights, which are fundamental pillars of the country’s orientations.
He highlighted the role played by the UAE in supporting medical and humanitarian aid and vaccination campaigns around the world, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The United Arab Emirates has also demonstrated exceptional capabilities in the management and governance of the pandemic, thanks to the efficiency of its health system, the national resilience to face all the changes and its global leadership in the supply of vaccines, which helped to safeguard the gains of the state and international participation in planning the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Al Owais said in conclusion.
While participating in the Walk the Talk event held earlier in the day as part of UHC Day, HE Abdulla Bin Mohamed Al Hamed, Chairman of the Emirate of Health Department of Abu Dhabi said:
“I am delighted to be part of this event, right here in the heart of EXPO 2020 Dubai, the important global platform that shines a light on a series of high-profile global topics. Under the guidance of our wise leaders, the United Arab Emirates continues to make relentless efforts to ensure the availability of broad health coverage for the community, through advanced and integrated health insurance systems that improve the quality and availability of services provided to members of society. Today, we meet with local and international partners to exchange experiences and knowledge and discuss ways that will help improve our global efforts to deliver advanced healthcare to global societies.We also recognize the central role played by frontline heroes in delivering health care to individuals, while raising awareness of the importance of regular health care linking physical activity to improving and maintaining the health of community members.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the critical need to prepare for health emergencies and has exposed huge disparities in countries’ capacities to cope with and recover from the crisis.
As of March 2021, 43% of countries reported a disruption in primary health care, while 45% reported a disruption in rehabilitation, palliative and long-term care. Emergency, critical and life-saving surgical procedures were affected in nearly one-fifth of countries, and more than two-thirds of countries reported a halt in elective surgeries. A wide range of other services – from mental health and dental care to cancer screening and family planning – have also suffered.
Community fear and mistrust, travel restrictions and financial hardship have posed significant challenges during the outbreak, and services have also been hampered by supply issues, particularly staff shortages.
Universal Health Coverage Day this year includes a series of events from 12 to 16 December. In addition to the joint WHO/Ministry of Health and Prevention event, Expo 2021 Dubai dedicated an entire day to celebrating key milestones on the road to UHC, including the upcoming release of the Global Monitoring Report report on universal health coverage 2021, the Global monitoring report on financial protection in health 2021, the Global expenditure report 2021 and the Global survey on health technology assessment and sets of health benefits: interactive database and results.
For more information, see the WHO regional page on Universal Health Coverage Day.