World Must Take More Integrated Approach To UHC To Fulfill Health As Human Right, Opinion Piece Says
Devex: Opinion: The U.N. political declaration on UHC undermines health as a human right
Jean Claude Mugunga, physician and associate director of monitoring, evaluation, and quality at Partners In Health
“…The version of universal health coverage presented in the political declaration that world leaders adopted in the United Nations General Assembly on Monday definitely doesn’t align with my beliefs. The central problem is that it represents selective ‘sets of services.’ The danger of ‘nationally determined sets’ is that governments could interpret the phrase to mean a limited range of health services, such as those that are profitable commodities, and leave much of the health needs to the whims of private markets. A UHC that means a few select services for everyone while the rest are left to the market does not serve to promote equity. It also exaggerates the agency of resource-poor countries to ‘determine’ these sets of services. Overall, this serves to undermine the meaning of health as a human right. … My concept of truly transformative UHC is an integrated approach encompassing primary, secondary, and tertiary care that meets the health needs of the whole population with high-quality care that includes social support and addresses the social determinants of health. It has to be country-led, and adequately financed to address gaps on both the demand and supply-side of high-quality care. … Without significant and sustained external funding, and in an era of globalization, there needs to be an increasingly globalized notion of who bears responsibility for protecting and fulfilling the right to health” (9/26).