World Health Day, held annually on April 7th, marks the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) and highlights a specific health topic of concern. In 2018, the focus is on Universal Health Coverage, which enables all people across the world to receive the health treatment they need without being forced into financial hardship.
Currently, at least 50% of the world’s population does not have full coverage of essential health services, and about 100 million are being forced into extreme poverty due to the cost of healthcare. For these individuals, this means making a choice between buying medicine and buying food. It means 20 million infants are not receiving the vaccinations that they need. It means a reduction in life expectancy and an increased likelihood of deadly epidemics.
Countries like Mongolia, Ghana, Tajikistan, and many more have taken considerable action to render more people-centric health care. In 2015, WHO helped the Mongolian government start a mobile health screening team, nicknamed M-Health, to bring health screenings to people’s homes. Doing so prevented people in the rural town of Dersene-Us from having to travel long distances to seek care and provided the opportunity for residents to obtain preventive care. In Ghana, the government introduced an insurance program which exempts children under 18 from paying a premium and allows them to receive health services at no cost. Tajikistan formed a National Program of Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities, which provided services free of charge to persons with disabilities.
Investing in Universal Health Coverage is investing in people’s health and life expectancy. Good health and affordable health care gives people the opportunity to explore their potential instead of worrying about surviving day to day. Through events like World Health Day, WHO provides all countries, even those who have already taken steps towards implementing UHC, the tools and education they need to further reduce the financial hardship of medical care.
ATRIA 340B stands with WHO and the rest of the international community in working towards achieving Universal Health Coverage. Through the 340B program, we pride ourselves in helping healthcare entities gain the financial support they need to offer charity care, sliding fee programs, and other programs to eliminate financial hardship as a barrier to care. When it comes to advocating for Universal Health Coverage, no role is too small. Individuals, non-profits, health workers, and the media all have a part to play. Together, we can achieve #HealthForAll.