World Health Day 2018: ‘Universal Health Coverage: everyone, everywhere’

“Universal” in Universal Health Coverage means “for all”, without discrimination, leaving no one behind. Everyone everywhere has a right to benefit from health services they need without falling into poverty when using them.

World Health Day marks also the 70th anniversary of the World Health Organisation; a formidable organisation and key leader in striving for a world where Universal Health Coverage is a reality for all – a world where everyone, everywhere can access essential quality health care and services without facing financial hardship. World Health Day shines a spotlight on the need for Universal Health Coverage - and the advantages it can bring, inspiring, motivating and guiding decision makers and stakeholders to commit.

The theme of World Health Day 2018 is ‘Universal Health Coverage: everyone, everywhere’. On this special occasion, that also marks the 70th anniversary of the World Health Organisation, EPF supports WHO’s call on world leaders to live up to the pledges they made when they agreed the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 and commit to concrete steps to advance #HealthForAll.

Access as a cornerstone of health policy

In 2017, together with our members we launched a thematic campaign on Access to Healthcare for All. In today’s world, political will and a fundamental change in Europe’s approach to healthcare access is required to reach the UN SDGs and achieve Universal Health Coverage for All. To ensure the rights of all patients are respected, to fight the inequalities that persist in health across the EU, and to make health a priority in all policies at national and EU levels.

Healthcare should be accessible in a timely way to every patient who needs it, not only to those who can pay and regardless of gender, age, employment and residence status. Regrettably, this is not a reality for all.

We believe that every patient should have equitable access to person-centred high-quality health and social care and strives to eliminate disparities and barriers related to access and standards of care and health inequalities within the EU.

EPF’s campaign called on Member States and the EU to commit to a long-term vision where equity of access and universal health coverage is a reality for all patients in the EU – a target of the third UN Sustainable Development Goal on ensuring healthy lives.

In December 2017, as the result of months of work, we published a Roadmap entitled ‘Taking Action – A Roadmap to Achieving Universal Health Coverage for All by 2030’.

The Roadmap highlights the gaps and barriers patients face in accessing healthcare, aims to elevate health on the political agenda of the EU and Member States, and encourages more EU cooperation to improve access to healthcare. The Roadmap identifies the challenges that need to be addressed and proposes political steps and actions that EU decision-makers and Member States need to take in order to achieve universal health coverage for all patients in the EU by 2030.

What’s next?

In 2018, equity of access continues to be a high priority for EPF. The outcomes of the 2017 campaign on access to healthcare for all and resulting Roadmap to achieving universal health coverage for all by 2030 are a compass for the work we do to bring the voice of patients in Europe.

Looking forward, and in preparation of the 2019 European Elections, we will work towards the implementation of the political steps and actions highlighted in our Roadmap and continue to raise awareness of gaps and barriers patients face in accessing healthcare, while advocating for a transparent, inclusive and collaborative implementation of the UN SDGs and intersectoral action for health.

Visit the World Health Day 2018 Health For All website here! Click here for World Health Day 2018 campaign essentials!