On 12th December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on countries to speed up progress toward universal health coverage (UHC), which means everyone, everywhere should have access to quality, affordable health care – as an essential priority for international development. On 12th December 2017, the United Nations, through resolution 72/138, declared 12th December as International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day).
Everyone everywhere should have access to quality essential health services without suffering financial difficulty. Universal Health Coverage Day is the yearly rallying point for advocates to speak up and share the stories of the millions of people still waiting for health, urge leaders to invest smarter in health, and remind the world about the importance of universal health coverage (UHC). If we are to avoid future pandemics and attain health and well-being for all by the year 2030, we must prioritize equity by investing more in health and allocating resources equitably and efficiently according to need.
The Theme of International Universal Health Coverage Day 2021
As we continue to battle a global pandemic, we unite to urge leaders to protect everyone with this year’s theme of International Universal Health Coverage Day; “Leave No One’s Health Behind: Invest in Health Systems for All.” The COVID-19 pandemic has been an existent moment of judgment for the world’s health systems. While the cruel lessons of our global situation aren’t new—and while the current injustices and fears reveal the daily reality of millions of people before the pandemic, the absolute scale of this crisis has triggered new urgency around universal health coverage and health systems. Now more than ever, more leaders are paying heed, and more people are rising to demand change.
Inequities compromise our efforts to promote, protect, and improve health for all, and hence threaten global economic and social development. As the COVID-19 pandemic emphasized and heightened inequities in health around the world, WHO continues to reinforce its call for greater political drive and prompt action from world leaders. Health equity should be placed high on the global agenda as we help countries work towards achieving universal health coverage.
The Significance of International Universal Health Coverage Day
- Universal Health Coverage Day is an opportunity to assess progress and determine gaps in ensuring that all people everywhere access the necessary health care, close to their residences and without financial hardship.
- It is also a day to concentrate on the next move to attain continuous, real progress towards a healthier and fairer world. WHO will reveal the latest in on universal health coverage, which underscores the effects of COVID-19 on health systems and services globally, and show how countries are working to address this.
- International Universal Health Coverage Day seeks to spread awareness of the call for resilient and strong health systems and universal health coverage with multi-stakeholder partners.
- Every year on 12th December, UHC advocates share the stories of the millions still waiting for health, uphold what we have accomplished so far, urge leaders to make bigger and smarter health investments, and encourage various groups to make resolutions to help steer the world closer to UHC by 2030.
To build a future that is safer and healthier for all, we must boost our health systems to ensure they are resilient, equitable, and capable of meeting the needs of everyone. Governments, international organizations, the private sector, civil society organizations, academia, and media are urged to use this year’s theme to hold leaders and our health systems accountable to the commitment of health for all. Everyone, everywhere deserves access to quality health services, in times of crisis and calm. On 12th December, let’s join hands to demand action on universal health coverage and urge leaders to invest in health systems for all that leave no one behind. Our lives, livelihoods, and futures depend on it. Happy Universal Health Coverage Day!