February 4, 2023

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The world and the UN celebrate “Health for All”.

To mark Universal Health Coverage Day, this week marks the UN’s biggest sporting event, the FIFA World Cup semi-finals.

In this regard, the main stage of the FIFA Fan Festival in Doha, Qatar, was celebrated with a dance and music event titled ‘Health for All’ ahead of the first clash between Argentina and Croatia.

“Be Active: Bringing Movement to Health for All” organized by FIFA, World Health Organization (WHO), Education Beyond Education Foundation and Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health, with special appearances by stars from the world of dance, music. And football.

Speaking at the event, World Health Organization (WHO) Goodwill Ambassador and FIFA legend Didier Drogba said anyone can be active. “For health in many ways, from physical health to access to care for all”. “I am proud to lend my voice to both at Universal Health Coverage Day in Doha” he said.

Europe: Inflation and the Threat of War

On Universal Health Coverage Day, the WHO’s European branch warned on Monday that inflation and war threaten the financial security of millions of people in Europe, with families fearing the cost of living will forego health care.

The World Health Organization has called on countries to learn from previous shocks and prevent poor health care from driving people into poverty this winter.

The WHO analysis describes that in countries with the largest cuts to health budgets, the proportion of people avoiding health care due to its cost has doubled.

Financial stress due to direct payments has also increased in the region. Even before the current shocks, out-of-pocket payments for health care pushed – or deepened – as many as one in ten families into poverty in some countries on the European continent.

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In addition, 1 to 19% of households (depending on the country) had to face catastrophic health care costs (out-of-pocket payments of more than 40% of the remaining household income once basic needs are met). They cannot meet other basic needs like food, shelter and heat.

Tough choices

Research shows that people with low incomes are more likely to face catastrophic expenses, mainly related to the purchase of drugs and medical supplies.

WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr Hans Henry B. According to Klucke, “Financial hardship can force people to choose between feeding their families, heating their homes or getting the medicine they need.”

More broadly, after the economic crisis that followed the global financial crisis of 2008, cuts in public health spending and slowing growth have led to staff shortages, long waiting times and coverage restrictions in many European countries, increasing inequalities in access to affordable health care. .

For example, 6 countries restrict the right to publicly funded health care, which generally affects people in precarious situations. According to the WHO, 17 countries have reduced the scope of health benefits and 24 have increased user fees.

As Europe grapples with war, a cost-of-living crisis and rising energy costs, the World Health Organization is urging countries to learn the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis. People.

Investment in health systems

To sustain progress toward universal health coverage, countries must address health care gaps that affect low-income households. “To build a healthy society, governments must invest in health systems, especially in times of crisis, to ensure health for everyone, everywhere,” said Dr Kluge.

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Also, in the context of the war in Ukraine, people fleeing the conflict must have access to a full range of health services, including medicines, without administrative, communication or financial barriers.

Ensuring affordable health care is a challenge for those staying in Ukraine. The war threatens to reverse Ukraine’s progress in universal health coverage due to the dire economic situation of most households.

However, changes in health financing policy, including coverage policy, may mitigate the effects for those in need.

WHO argues in this regard “People driven into poverty by conflict must be protected from financial constraints and catastrophic spending, especially the elderly with chronic diseases”.