The World Health Organisation says the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening health gains of the past twenty years, especially among the vulnerable population groups with unmet health needs.
The United Nations agency stated this on Friday in commemoration of the 2020 Universal Health Coverage Day.
According to WHO, COVID-19 struck only a few months after world leaders endorsed the landmark Political Declaration on UHC – committing to accelerate efforts towards the achievement of universal health coverage so that everyone can access the health services they require, when and where they need them, without suffering financial hardship as a result.
“The pandemic is testing our resolve to deliver health for all and threatens to undo decades of progress.
“It has disrupted delivery of essential health services in many countries, stretched resources to the limits, and revealed the impact of decades of underinvestment in primary care and essential public health functions,” it said.
A series of pulse surveys by WHO reveal slow-downs and setbacks in delivering key health services and reaching globally agreed targets.
“Initiatives to boost immunization, sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health, care for the ageing, and to end diseases have all been negatively impacted.
“This puts additional pressure on vulnerable population groups with unmet health needs. Even before the crisis, at least half of the world’s population did not have full coverage of essential health services, and about 100 million people were pushed into extreme poverty because they have had to spend on health care beyond their ability to pay.
The world health body noted that to end this crisis and build a safer and healthier future, countries must invest in health systems that protect all.
Universal Health Coverage Day, held every December 12 is the annual rallying point for the growing movement for health for all. The day is used to mark the anniversary of the United Nations’ historic and unanimous endorsement of universal health coverage in 2012.
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