In celebration of World Health Day 2019, citizens across the globe have created chains of solidarity to support the WHO/PAHO call for access to health care and universal health coverage.
On 9 April, some 70 persons gathered at midday outside the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) office in Trinidad and Tobago and linked hands in a Solidarity Chain to celebrate World Health Day 2019 and endorse the Day’s theme of access and universal health coverage. The solidarity chain in Port of Spain was among many formed across the globe this week demonstrating popular support for “equitable access to comprehensive and quality health care,” and highlighting this year’s focus on primary health care (PHC).
Equitable access to health remains a priority in the Latin America, Caribbean and wider Americas region, which has made important progress in health with a 16-year increase in life expectancy over the past 45 years and a reduction in infant mortality, but where an estimated third of the population lacks access to health care. The main objective, says PAHO Director Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, is for everyone, wherever they live, to have access to health care “without restrictions and without serious difficulties.”
To this end, PAHO has launched a report outlining ten recommendations for achieving universal health. The report was produced by a Commission (“Universal Health in the XXI Century: 40 years of Alma-Ata”) established by the PAHO Director in February 2018 to help countries achieve improved access to health in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report “reaffirms that health is a fundamental human right … not a privilege, nor a commodity,” notes Dr Etienne, and it points to primary health care as fundamental to achieving health for all. The report’s recommendations include:
- Ensure the right to health.
- Develop models of care based on primary health care (PHC).
- Generate social participation mechanisms.
- Generate mechanisms for regulation and control of the private sector.
- Eliminate barriers to health access.
- Address social determinants with intersectoral interventions.
- Reposition public health as the guiding axis of the State’s response.
- Value human resources as protagonists of PHC.
- Promote the rational use and innovation of technological resources.
- Ensure efficient and sustainable financing.
The report will contribute to regional preparations for the High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, to be held in September within the United Nations General Assembly.
Take a look also at the Barbados solidarity chain