World Health Day: Learning the lessons of the pandemic for better health coverage

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 11:43 AM

Par Taoufik El Bouchtaoui
Geneva – Unprecedented global crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the debate around the resilience of health systems back to the forefront, while recalling the urgency of a new impetus to efforts to establish health coverage universal approach to address inequalities and mitigate the risks this crisis poses for groups that are particularly vulnerable or exposed to the coronavirus.

While the pandemic has given rise to unprecedented mobilization and multiple solidarity initiatives around the world, it has, on the other hand, revealed in broad daylight the devastating lack of preparation of States, including the richest and most advanced, in the face of pandemic, despite all the internal reports and warnings issued over the years by a host of experts and even despite the recent epidemics of SARS (2003) and H1N1. Nothing was ready for the day, however inevitable, when a hyper contagious virus would emerge, while the anticipation of the risk of a pandemic seems to have been a constant in the field of strategic research for many years.

The following followed suit: Staggering overcrowding of hospitals leading to dramatic collateral mortality, nursing staff overwhelmed by the flow of infections, lack of equipment for doctors, meteoric progression of the virus, and successive waves due to a series super contagious variants.

“The Covid-19 has hit all countries hard, but it is the already vulnerable communities that have been hit the hardest. These groups are more exposed to the disease, less likely to have access to quality health services and less immune to the negative consequences of the measures implemented to contain the pandemic, ”writes the office of the World Organization. (WHO) for the European region in a message in anticipation of World Health Day celebrated on April 7 of each year.

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The global coronavirus crisis of 2020, which will go down in annals as a turning point in history, is now a source of questions and concerns about the gaps in universal health coverage and which refer to inequalities in health. According to UN statistics, “at least half of the world‘s population does not have access to the health services they need” and “each year some 100 million people fall into poverty because of the exorbitant cost. care “.

This deep inequality in health coverage is one of the reasons why Covid-19 is causing so much pain and suffering, says the UN.

“This lack of fairness is nothing new. Although the world has seen improvements in average levels of health and life expectancy and reductions in premature mortality, these gains have not been distributed evenly across different social groups and across countries. There are also differences at each age, from the first years to the end of life, ”underlines the UN agency for health.

For the WHO, “this is not only unfair, but also preventable”. The Organization, which intends to launch “a new campaign for a more just and healthier world” asks “the leaders to ensure that everyone enjoys living and working conditions favorable to their health. “

“At the same time, we urge policymakers to monitor health inequalities and ensure that all citizens can access quality health services when and where they need them,” said the Minister. same source.

The World Health Organization defines equity as the equitable opportunity for everyone to reach their full health potential, regardless of geography or demographic, social or economic status.

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There is no doubt that it is essential for the well-being, development, sustainability and resilience of present society and of future generations to give girls and boys a good start in life and to ensure to preserve health throughout life, argues the WHO.

While calling for more investment in primary care so that everyone can be healthy, international organizations point out that Covid-19 has shown how a pre-existing lack of equity has put communities already at greater risk. vulnerable.

To overcome current challenges and build resilience for the future, experts around the world have repeatedly called for health to be absolutely within everyone’s reach. Addressing the root causes of inequalities, investing in communities and adopting appropriate public health measures is essential for the United Nations.

On its website, the WHO Regional Office for Europe underlines the urgency of ensuring the protection, screening and treatment of the entire world population: “Only then will we we will be able to eradicate the pandemic ”.

In addition to ensuring an equitable supply of vaccines, tests and treatments, “in order to be able to administer these, we must strengthen health systems,” recommends the same source, adding that efficient health workers and care Effective primary care is essential for people to get services when and where they need them, as close to home as possible.

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