Universal health care for all, leaving no one behind, by 2030: that’s the call going out on International Universal Health Coverage Day, which this year falls on Wednesday. Why 2030? Because that’s the target date for completion of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), one of which (SDG3), calls for the promotion of healthy lives and well-being for all.
The International Day is supported by UHC2030, a global partnership consisting of Member States, several United Nations Agencies – including the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s’ Fund (UNICEF), and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) – and civil society organizations.
The aim is to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage, by sharing the stories of the millions of people still waiting for health care, championing what has been achieved so far, and calling on decision-makers to make bigger and smarter investments in health, moving the world closer to Universal Health Care by 2030.
In 2012, the UN General Assembly unanimously endorsed a resolution urging countries to accelerate progress toward universal health coverage: the idea that everyone, everywhere should have access to quality, affordable health care – as an essential priority for international development: in 2017 the General Assembly made December 12 the official UN-designated International Day for Universal Health Coverage.
The International Day has been backed by UN chief António Guterres, who said in a statement that "strong leadership and community engagement are essential in ensuring that all people get the healthcare they need. On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to a world with health for all."
This year, the Day is being celebrated two months after Member States unanimously vowed to strengthen primary health care, as an “essential step” towards achieving health coverage for all, at the Global Conference on Primary Health Care, held in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan on 25-26 October.
The commitment was made as a global movement grows for greater investment in primary health care to achieve universal health coverage: so far, health resources have been overwhelmingly focused on single disease interventions rather than strong, comprehensive health systems – a gap highlighted by several health emergencies in recent years.