Since 1950, the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have been commemorating World Health Day on the 7th of April each year.
This day is observed to raise awareness of the need to improve global health, and the scope is the health system in its entirety. Each year has a theme or a key message which is highlighted on the day, and various campaigns are run throughout the year. Although our business focus is on lifestyle diseases and nutrition, we are so happy to be part of this year’s health observance under the theme, Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere.
This year’s theme is derived from WHO’s number one goal – Universal Health Coverage – to ensure that everyone can obtain the care they need, when they need it, right in the heart of the community. Millions of people still don’t have health cover because too often it is a choice between that or other essentials like food and shelter. South Africa is in the process of developing the long overdue response to this challenge. The National Health Insurance (NHI) is intended to ensure that the use of health services does not result in financial hardship for individuals and their families, as per the health department’s website.
“NHI seeks to realise universal health coverage for all South Africans. This means that every South African will have a right to access comprehensive healthcare services free of charge at the point of use at accredited health facilities such as clinics, hospitals and private health practitioners. This will be done using an NHI card. The services will be delivered closest to where people live or work.” – www.gov.za
What is Universal Health Coverage (UHC)?
UHC means that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. It includes the full spectrum of essential, quality health services from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care. UHC enables everyone to access the services that address the most significant causes of disease and death and ensures that the quality of those services is good enough to improve the health of the people who receive them. Watch the video below to find out more:
Protecting people from the financial consequences of paying for health services out of their own pockets reduces the risk that people will be pushed into poverty because unexpected illness requires them to use up their life savings, sell assets, or borrow – destroying their futures and often those of their children. Achieving UHC is one of the targets the nations of the world set when adopting the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. Countries that embrace UHC will make progress towards other health-related targets and goals.
Good health allows children to learn and adults to earn; it helps people escape poverty and provides the basis for long-term economic development. To make health for all a reality we need individuals and communities to have access to high-quality health services so that they take care of their own health and the health of their families. We also need skilled health workers providing quality, people-centred care, and policy-makers committed to investing in primary healthcare.
- At least half of the world’s population still do not have full coverage of essential health services
- About 100 million people are still being pushed into extreme poverty (defined as living on 1.90USD or less a day) because they have to pay for health care
- Over 800 million people (almost 12% of the world’s population) spend at least 10% of their household budget to pay for healthcare
- All UN Member States have agreed to try to achieve UHC by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals
At Abundance Wholesome Foods, we believe to make health a reality for all we must start in our own communities. Check if your nearest healthcare centre or medical aid provides any preventive services where you get rewarded for blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes screenings, cancer screenings like mammograms or routine vaccinations. Find out where your nearest farmer’s market is for locally grown fresh produce that nourishes your health naturally and – don’t forget – if you’re in our area, we’ll deliver your organically grown veggies to your home or office weekly! Find out more here.
Also, don’t forget to join the conversation this year using the hashtags #UniversalHealth #HealthForAll and #SustainableDevelopmentGoals in social media and SIGN THE PETITION for global health coverage for all.