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Universal Health Coverage Day

Team AckoJan 17, 2024

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day is an annual celebration that takes place on December 12 and is dedicated to promoting better access to healthcare around the world. The day seeks to build political will and rally resources to help countries achieve UHC which includes access to quality healthcare services, medicines and vaccines, without facing financial hardship due to the cost of care




Purpose of Universal Health Coverage Day

The purpose of this day is to draw attention to the importance of achieving UHC and promoting action to increase access to quality health services. 

  • The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals set UHC as a priority, recognizing it as an essential element of overall economic and social development.

  • UHC is critical for global health security and well-being, reducing poverty and promoting economic growth. 

  • The Universal Health Coverage Day is an opportunity to raise awareness and focus attention on the importance of targeting resources to close the coverage gap, enable equitable access to quality health services and improve health outcomes. 

  • The day serves to remind countries of their commitments and to help them find ways to accelerate progress to UHC, benefiting all of their citizens.

Benefits of Universal Health Coverage 

Following is a list of some of the benefits of achieving UHC.

1. Improved access to healthcare for all individuals

UHC promises improved access to healthcare for all individuals, regardless of their economic or social status. By ensuring that all individuals have access to medical care, UHC reduces the number of people being denied care due to a lack of ability to pay. It also reduces the financial burden on those with limited means to access healthcare as it eliminates the need for them to purchase insurance, pay for prescriptions, and cover other out of pocket costs associated with healthcare.

2. Reduced financial burden on individuals and families

UHC significantly reduces the financial burden many individuals and families experience when facing medical expenses. By ensuring that all individuals have access to healthcare and that most healthcare expenses are covered, UHC reduces the amount of money spent on medical costs.

3. Improved overall health and well-being of a population

UHC enables individuals to seek medical attention early, preventing or treating conditions before they become more severe and costly. It also enables those with chronic conditions to access the care they need to manage their condition and improve their quality of life.

4. Increased economic growth and development

By ensuring that individuals have access to healthcare and are able to seek medical attention and preventive care when needed, UHC leads to improved economic growth and development. 

Challenges to achieving UHC 

Here is the rundown of the main challenges to achieving UHC.

1. Financing

Financing health services remains a major barrier to achieving UHC. Authorities often lack the necessary funds or lack the capacity to pool resources and redistribute them equitably. Also, a lack of an adequate healthcare system structure and a lack of incentives can impede resource mobilisation and equity.

2. Lack of equity

UHC plans should aim to ensure equitable access to quality health services, but economic and social disparities can prevent this from being achieved. Inequalities in access to services based on gender, age, race, and income can limit who can benefit from UHC plans.

3. Lack of capacity

UHC strategies must be carefully designed and implemented, and must be closely monitored to ensure that they are being met. Governments often lack the technical and administrative capacities necessary to manage a UHC system, which requires coordination between multiple levels of government and healthcare providers.

4. Governance

Poor governance leads to a lack of transparency and accountability in the public health system, making it difficult for citizens to access services or hold government and healthcare providers accountable.

5. Behavioural and cultural barriers

Behavioural and cultural barriers can also preventpeople from accessing health services, including a lack of public awareness, the stigma surrounding certain diseases, and language and cultural barriers.

How is UHC Day celebrated each year? 

This day encourages people around the world to focus on the need for quality, equitable, and affordable healthcare for everyone, everywhere. Activities for UHC Day generally include events, conferences, and campaigns related to building political and public support to ensure sustainable health coverage for all.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also encourages its partners to use the day to organise and hold dialogues to discuss how to strengthen and improve health systems to achieve universal health coverage. 

Universal Health Coverage in India

The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners use the day to promote progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in India, which is a commitment to ensure all people have access to quality health services without suffering financial hardship. 

UHC in India is part of the overall mission to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3, which includes ending preventable child and maternal deaths, reducing the burden of infectious diseases, and providing access to quality and affordable health services, medicines, and vaccines for all. Over the years, the Government of India has committed to reducing the burden of diseases, especially those in the vulnerable population. The Government has taken multiple steps to provide healthcare access and improve the affordability of services.

These initiatives include the following.

  • Providing free drugs and diagnostic services under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY), which provides free health coverage up to 5 lakh Indian rupees per family per year.

  • Setting up Regional Health Information Exchanges (RHIEs) to provide electronic health records.

  • Working towards providing a national digital health platform.

  • Launching the Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs) to provide comprehensive primary healthcare services at the doorstep of households

  • Providing free and subsidised meals to pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Universal Health Coverage Day provides an opportunity to recognise the progress made in India and to advocate for continued progress toward UHC. This year, it is vital to remind everyone of the importance of working together to ensure the effective implementation of all UHC initiatives. It is also crucial to remember that health coverage is only effective when accompanied by other social determinants of health, such as adequate nutrition, clean water, and sanitation. This, as a result, will help ensure sustainability in these initiatives for the long term. 

Frequently asked questions

Here are some common questions and their answers regarding Universal Health Coverage Day.


What is the significance of Universal Health Coverage Day?

This is an important event that reminds individuals to focus on the pledge to ensure everyone, everywhere, can access the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. It is also a reminder of the immense progress that has been made over the years, with many countries providing essential health services to their citizens.

How can I get involved in Universal Health Coverage Day? 

There are a number of ways to get involved. You can take part in a local event, organise a campaign, or even just spread the word through social media. If you are part of an organisation, you can also spread the message about the importance of Universal Health Coverage and how it’s helping to improve the lives of people around the world.

What are some examples of Universal Health Coverage?

Universal Health Coverage includes access to essential services such as immunisations, maternal and child health services, non-communicable and communicable diseases, mental health, and other preventive, curative and rehabilitative services. It also includes access to medicines, medical devices, diagnostics, and other medical products. UHC is essential for people to lead healthy and productive lives.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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