Another World Health Day is here. World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO, provides us with a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world. The theme of 2018 World Health Day campaign is Universal Health Coverage: Everyone Everywhere and the Slogan is Health for All. In recent decades, universal health coverage has emerged as a key strategy to make progress towards other health related and broader development goals. Access to essential quality care and financial protection not only enhances people's health and life expectancy, it also protects countries from epidemics, reduces poverty and the risk of hunger, creates jobs, drives economic growth and enhances gender equality. WHO has planned three main strategies to achieve this goal. Throughout 2018, WHO aims to inspire, motivate and guide Universal Health Coverage (UHC) stakeholders to make commitments towards UHC:
"Inspire-by highlighting policy-makers' power to transform the health of their nation, framing the challenge as exciting and ambitious, and inviting them to be part of the change. "Motivate-by sharing examples of how countries are already progressing towards UHC and encourage others to find their own path. "Guide-by providing tools for structured policy dialogue on how to advance UHC domestically or supporting such efforts in other countries. In a significant announcement during his Union Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley declared two major new health initiatives under the government's Ayushman Bharat Program.One of the initiatives is the Flagship National Health Protection Scheme, which seeks to provide health insurance cover worth Rs 5 lakh per family to over 10 crore economically vulnerable families. Approximately 50 crore beneficiaries are expected to avail of this scheme. The second major initiative, which is reminiscent of the Delhi government's Mohalla Clinics, is the creation of 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness centres, which will bring healthcare closer to home. These centres are expected to provide diagnostic services and essential medicines. For this initiative, the government has set aside Rs 1200 crore.
The Government of Kerala has also come up with the magnum opus programme ,The AARDRAM Mission. Mission AARDRAM aims at creating People Friendly Health Delivery System in the state. The approach will be based and aims at treating every patient with dignity. Through the state of the art investigation and intervention protocols, it envisages transforming all Primary Health Centers into Family Health Centres as a first level Health delivery point. The mission envisages ensuring quality care at Primary Health Centres. All high footfall hospitals will be transformed to patient friendly Out Patient service providers. The services include web based appointment system, virtual queues, patient reception at registration centres, waiting rooms with wi-fi facilities and so on. As per the WHO definition, Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. So we have to focus not only on prevention eradication and treatment of disease but also on the ways by which a complete holistic wellness can be achieved too. Proper education should be given to the public through outreach programmes and mass media regarding the importance of seeking proper health care at proper time.
Ignorance and lack of exposure to various educational and motivational programmes serves as the bottleneck which prevents from achieving health for all. Another one major catastrophe that too often happens is the umpteen number of misleading unhealthy information that spreads through whatsApp and such social media. We have witnessed many unhealthy campaigns against vaccination from so called quacks who emerge as self madedoctors. We should make the public learn unlearn and relearn and also should purify them from the Pandora's box of these quackery. For this, the healthcare professionals from various fields of medicine should join hands and unanimously work for the uplift of society.Let the world shine with universal health coverage for all. "Without health life is not life; it is only a state of langour and suffering - an image of death."-Buddha.
The writer is senior resident, Government Dental College, Alleppey....