World Health Day Blog #HealthForAll
On the eve of World Health Day, we can reflect on the significant improvements made worldwide over the last fifty years both in health status and in access to health care. However, the challenge in achieving target 3:8 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – universal health coverage (UHC) - can at times seem insurmountable. Indeed, a 2017 report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that still more than half of the world’s 7.3 billion people do not receive all the essential services they need and about 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty due to their health expenditure.
There is clearly a huge amount of work still to do and the WHO’s decision to theme this year’s World Health Day #HealthForAll signifies widespread agreement that UCH is the goal, that if achieved, that will deliver all others.
Over the past 10 years Humana People to People has been working tirelessly in partnership with the government to achieve UHC with many of our health related programmes reaching communities that the National Health Service struggles to help. In many of the regions in which we work, large swathes of the populace live long distances from the nearest health facilities. Take Mozambique as an example, where 50 percent of the population are more than 20km away from the nearest health facility. It is in these contexts that we pioneered a community orientated programme that mobilises individuals and communities at large to take charge of their own health and well-being through a door-to-door personal interactions by local mobilisers, education, risk assessment and testing. This approach, known as Total Control of the Epidemic (TCE) has become a model for HIV & Aids and TB prevention reaching millions of people globally.
The program, in a close collaboration with the local health facilities and with a firm structure, relies on employment and training of local staff to work as “Field Officers" and the referral of these patients by community-level caregivers to the local health facilities. In some countries, the program has harnessed technology using IT-based mobile applications to track patients in the community, linking them to their nearest health-facilities and facilitating follow-ups. We have seen that this particular combination of components becomes a powerful tool. It has enabled Humana People to People to reach the most remote villages in some of the worst affected countries globally to receive a diagnostic for these diseases and, consequently, be linked to the healthcare system.
The ability to reach the remotest communities and bring them onto the “grid” is one of the keys to achieving UHC and we must harness technology as well as traditional and complementary medicine services to reach these people. As we mark World Health Day on Saturday Humana will be campaigning for using this combination of elements, together with grassroots and local approaches to be scaled and replicated across developing countries as a key strategy in helping countries achieving #HealthForAll.
Please contact us for more details on our programmes or to learn how you can partner with us to help achieve UHC.