Universal Health Coverage Day 2022: History, Significance and Theme

Universal Health Coverage Day which is also known as International Universal Health Coverage Day is annually celebrated on 12th December. This day raises awareness about the importance of quality and affordable healthcare in the world. 

December 12 is the anniversary of the first unanimous United Nations resolution calling for all nations to provide for their citizens affordable, quality health care. It highlights the major issue that many people in our world are struggling to get quality and affordable healthcare which is their right and thus urges governments around the world to provide it. 

To end the crisis and build a safer and healthier future, we must invest in health systems that protect us all. On Universal Health Coverage Day, let’s come together to demand action on universal health coverage. 

Event Universal Health Coverage Day
Date December 12, 2022
Day Monday
Significance The day raises awareness about the importance of quality and affordable healthcare in the world.
Observed by World wide

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Universal Health Coverage Day History: 

Universal health coverage is not a new concept; from Ancient Egypt to the world today, most societies have recognized the importance of ensuring all individuals have access to quality health care for the benefit of their citizens. The understanding of UHC by the UN has been shaped by philosophers, economists, and political scientists as much as it has been by the health sector, individuals, caregivers and communities. It has enshrined health as a human right for every individual, linked the need for strong health systems to achieving health equity, and built a global health architecture that supports collaboration and mutual accountability.   

The first modern healthcare system was established by a German named Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in 1883. The insurance model, called the ‘Bismarckian system’, required everyone to have insurance through sickness funds, which were similar to the current-day non-profit health-insurance companies. This coverage was initially only limited to blue-collar workers. Over time, mandatory health insurance became something for other societal classes. By 1987, nearly 90% of the population was covered. In 2007, Germany established its ultimate goal by passing a law that mandated health insurance for all residents.

From the 1970s to the 2000s, Western European countries began introducing universal coverage, most of them building upon previous health insurance programs to cover the whole population. For example, France built upon its 1928 national health insurance system. Many European countries did the same as well including Canada. Beyond the 1990s, many countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, including developing countries, took steps to bring their populations under universal health coverage, including China which has the largest universal health care system in the world. 

Universal Health Coverage Day was originally promoted by the World Health Organization. The World Health Organization is part of the United Nations and is responsible for international public health. In December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution urging countries to fast-forward universal healthcare progression. The foundation hopes to cement the idea that everyone, everywhere should have access toaffordable and quality healthcare, which is a vital priority for international development. Since then this day has been celebrated annually to raise awareness about the issues relating to healthcare like quality, accessibility and affordability.  

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Universal Health Coverage Day Significance: 

Universal health coverage means that all people have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. It includes the full range of essential health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care. Universal Health Coverage(UHC) allows countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital. Supporting health represents a foundational investment in human capital and in economic growth—without good health, children are unable to go to school and adults are unable to go to work. It is one of the global economy’s largest sectors and provides 50 million jobs, with the majority held by women.  

The goal of universal health coverage (UHC) has become even more urgent with COVID-19, which has increased inequities and financial hardship. UHC means that everyone, everywhere, should have access to the health services they need without risk of financial hardship. The three dimensions of UHC are population coverage (who receives services, linked to equity), service coverage (what health services are available), and financial protection (ensuring health services do not lead to financial hardship). UHC is based on the principles of equity, non-discrimination & the right to health, ensuring that also the most marginalized populations are reached and covered, and no-one is left behind. 

Providing affordable, quality health services to the community, in particular to women, children, adolescents and people affected by mental health issues, represents a long-term investment in human capital. Many countries that are experiencing rapid population growth have young populations that could drive economic growth and reduce poverty. But to unleash the benefits of the demographic dividend, countries must invest in the health and well-being of their people to build human capital and boost inclusive growth. Hence for a better abs healthy future of our world it is necessary that we invest greatly in our health sector now. 

Every day, healthcare NGOs and organizations band together to implement programs, which are successful and accepted in communities and cultures around the world. Certain medical practices and new technology cannot always be implemented in the same way around the world. For example, in one rural village of Kenya, community members began rejecting water purifying tablets that were distributed to help combat the health risks linked to the consumption of contaminated water. People there didn’t trust the water purifiers and believed that using them was fatal. This is why constant donations and extensive communication is needed to dispel certain myths about healthcare in various parts of the world. 

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Universal Health Coverage Day Theme: 

The theme of Universal Health Coverage Day 2022 is “Build the world we want: A healthy future for all”. 

This theme emphasizes that in order to build strong health systems we need equity, trust, healthy environments, investments and accountability. 

This theme aims that we want a world in which all people can access quality health services without financial hardship. Universal health coverage lifts people out of poverty, promotes the well-being of families and communities, protects against public health crises, and moves us toward #HealthForAll. 

Most Searched FAQs on Universal Health Coverage Day: 

1. When is Universal Health Coverage Day celebrated? 

Universal Health Coverage Day is annually celebrated on 12th December. 

2. Why is universal health coverage important? 

Universal health coverage is fundamental to ensuring social protection for health. The poorest populations often face the highest health risks and need more health services. Sharing resources is a key element to the financing for universal health coverage. 

3. What is the theme of Universal Health Coverage Day 2022? 

The theme of Universal Health Coverage Day 2022 is “Build the world we want: A healthy future for all”. 

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