Cristina Azevedo (Fiocruz News Agency)
Designated by the United Nations, December 12th is celebrated every year as International Universal Health Coverage Day. The theme this year is Leave no one’s health behind: Invest in Health Systems for All - an issue that gained even more significance as the COVID-19 pandemic rolled on. This year’s campaign will feature a video showing people from all over the world who have shown leadership and vision in this matter, the so-called “Champions”. Among those invited to record a message is Fiocruz president, Nísia Trindade Lima, “for her personal leadership and for the work of the Foundation on global health”, says the invitation.
“Health for all means promoting the right to health by acting on environmental and social determinants of health, and providing access to universal and fair health systems”, says Lima in the video message.
“Asking, amplifying, acting”
On December 12th, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a resolution that asked countries to speed up progress towards universal health coverage (UHC). Five years later, the UN declared December 12th as International Universal Health Coverage Day.
Every year on this date, campaigns aim to stimulate leaders to invest more and encourage groups to make commitments to make sure the world gets to 2030 closer to achieving universal health coverage.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a moment of evaluation of health systems all over the world. Although the hard lessons of this global situation are far from new - and the fears and injustices that now occupy all headlines already reflected the daily reality of millions of people before the pandemic - the scale of this crisis has generated a new urgency on health systems and universal health coverage. More leaders are paying attention, and more people are standing up demanding changes”, says the UN’s message.
As she accepted the invitation, Lima said that “universal health coverage is one of the main and historical themes of Fiocruz. The Brazilian Universal Health System (SUS) was idealized and designed within the Foundation, and has been a critical tool in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic”.
To celebrate the date, the blog of the Antonio Ivo de Carvalho Center for Strategic Studies is publishing articles by Fiocruz researchers Carlos Gadelha, Ligia Giovanella, Luiz Augusto Galvão, and Paulo Buss. With different points of view, the authors defend that “only with universal, full and equal access to health, regardless of one’s purchasing power, will it be possile to reach universal coverage and to guarantee the right to health in a full manner, to which every citizen on this planet should have access”.
The UHC Day campaign also invites people to “ask, amplify and act”: to ask governments and world leaders to make commitments for universal coverage; to amplify the theme, spreading the messages explaining why universal coverage is important; and to ask, mobilizing in the streets or in social media.
“If we intend to prevent future pandemics and achieve health and well-being for all by 2030, we must prioritize equity by making more investments in health and allocating resources in a fair and efficient manner, according to need”, says the campaign’s page.