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Private Sector Can Help Close The Global Healthcare Gap

The health of a significant portion of the global population is being neglected. For many, the immediate concern is securing enough food to stave off hunger, overshadowing efforts to enhance their health or prevent illnesses. Shockingly, approximately 4.5 billion people—half of the world’s population—lack coverage for essential health services. In 2019 alone, around two billion individuals faced financial hardships due to out-of-pocket spending on health, with 344 million people enduring extreme poverty. These alarming data are highlighted in the 2023 UHC Global Monitoring Report, signaling an urgent need for action. Health is not a luxury but a fundamental right for everyone. Prioritizing Universal Health Coverage is imperative, but governments alone cannot achieve it.

“Half of the world not covered by essential services. Without urgent action, this gap will only widen”, says Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the UHC Day virtual Town Hall. In the pursuit of a healthier society, the paramount commitment should be to ensure that no individual is left behind. Universal Health Coverage (UHC) embodies this vision, aiming to provide everyone, regardless of location, with access to necessary health services without the risk of plunging into poverty.

UHC is not only integral to accomplishing Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3) concerning health and well-being but also extends its impact to other SDGs, including poverty eradication, education accessibility, gender equality, climate change mitigation, and the establishment of peaceful and inclusive societies. Encompassing essential health services across promotion, prevention, and treatment, achieving UHC by 2030 is imperative. While governments bear the primary responsibility for ensuring people’s health, the attainment of UHC necessitates collaborative efforts as governments alone cannot accomplish this ambitious goal.

Half of the world not covered by essential healthcare services. Without urgent action, this gap will only widen. – Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO

Private Sector’s Top Priority Should Be Serving The Most Vulnerable

Closing the global healthcare gap requires the active engagement of the private sector, leveraging its diverse range of health products and services, with some countries relying on it for over 60% of health services. To align with leaving no one behind principles, the private sector can contribute significantly by offering inclusive and high-quality products and services that cater to the needs of vulnerable populations. Making these solutions affordable, accessible, and sustainable is crucial. Integrating leaving no one behind principles into core business models and objectives ensures that the private sector becomes a driving force in promoting equitable healthcare for all.

Help People Help Themselves And Their Loved Ones

Increasing health literacy and fostering self-care practices is a fundamental step towards a future where citizens actively participate in their health. Health promotion, placing tools for health and well-being in the hands of individuals, becomes a key pillar in bridging the healthcare gap. Achieving universal health coverage necessitates a dual focus on informed citizens and self-care. Self-care, defined as the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote, prevent, maintain health, and cope with illness, is pivotal. Enhanced health literacy and widespread access to science-based self-care products are essential components for achieving health for all. With the means and knowledge to manage their health, individuals become empowered to govern their lives and care for their families, allowing healthcare resources to be efficiently dedicated to those in dire medical need.

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