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Opinion Pieces Discuss Importance Of Primary Health Care, Steps To Reaching UHC

Medium: Putting People at the Center of the Health Care Picture
Chris Elias, president of global development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation believes that access to quality primary health care (PHC) is the first and most critical step to delivering on the promise of universal health coverage. … When managed well, it’s a powerful tool for health equity … To get a clear picture of what’s working with this approach, countries and donors need to commit to measuring what matters. … We need … performance data to identify the barriers that still prevent hundreds of millions of people from accessing basic services. … Over the past two decades, the world has made unprecedented progress in reducing the global burden of infectious disease and shrinking major gaps in health equity. But these gains remain fragile and could be easily reversed if we don’t invest in the people and systems that will play an essential role in reaching the unreached and delivering on the principle that everyone deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy and productive life…” (10/24).

Global Health NOW: Let’s End the Fuzziness in Universal Health Coverage
Gavin Yamey, professor of global health and public policy at Duke University and director of the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health at the Duke Global Health Institute, and David Watkins, assistant professor of general internal medicine at the University of Washington and physician at the Harborview Medical Center

“…When governments say they will provide [universal health coverage (UHC)], they shouldn’t use vague notions: UHC should be a guaranteed promise of explicitly defined, publicly funded services. In our new paper, … we try to clarify the fuzziness surrounding UHC. … [W]e define a package of 218 unique interventions as ‘essential UHC’ (EUHC), based on being locally relevant, feasible to implement, pro-poor, and providing high value for money. … To be clear, we passionately believe that health care for all must be the goal … But where public resources are scarce, investments should be distributed fairly in a way that gets the most health for the money and that disproportionately benefits the poor. As countries’ economies grow, they can expand their UHC packages. Countries will also need to contextualize and adapt EUHC and use it as one of many inputs into their pathway towards high-quality, affordable services for all…” (10/25).

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