As part of the celebration of Universal Health Day, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on December 12 announced that Universal Health Coverage (UHC) will only be achieved if countries make efforts to reduce barriers to access healthcare and invest more in primary care. This request comes after the presentation in April of the “Regional Pact 30.30.30: Primary Health Care for Universal Health“, which proposes countries remove 30% of the barriers currently hindering health access and allocate 30% of their public health budgets to primary care levels by 2030. The health agency asked governments to implement these measures to ensure access to health services in the short term.
PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said that “primary health care is about people and the community,” adding that “it addresses the needs of people in their communities and requires investments in integrated health networks to address […] health promotion and disease prevention.” The international organization believes that UHC should cover a healthcare plan offering access to comprehensive, quality health services without exposing the more vulnerable population to financial hardship.
Likewise, achieving the UHC objective requires implementing social policies to address social health determinants. PAHO is hoping that decision-makers will take these factors and opinions into account when formulating public policies to promote progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so that they can meet the targets for the levels of access to healthcare and financing.