What is Universal Health Coverage and Its Benefits?

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Universal Health Coverage (UHC) means that all people or communities irrespective of caste, creed, sex, language and nationality have the right to use preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services that they need to get well without any financial hurdle. Medicine is an expensive affair to deal with, especially when you are sick and suffering.

Universal Health Coverage Scheme

As a result, most people do not have enough money to spend on medication and this leads to death. So the universal health scheme is a huge initiative that gives every human the right to use preventive, curative as well as rehabilitative measures to seek medical treatment for their illness.

There are many people in the world who cannot afford a decent healthcare treatment or hospitalization due to problems joblessness and poverty and as a result the suffering last suffering without getting proper medication.

What is Universal Health Coverage (UHC)?

Universal Health Coverage is an initiative by the WHO that aims to provide the needy with the right to use preventive, curative and rehabilitative ways of availing healthcare in every country. Especially in third world countries, there are many people who cannot afford healthcare service and this results in people dying.

In order to ensure that single healthcare centre in every country provides quality healthcare to the poor, the WHO has brought about this initiative. It would not be good to see people dying from a disease that is curable because he/she could not afford medical treatment. And so, the WHO has made it a point to address the issue of universal health care that aims at providing equal and quality healthcare for the masses.

Must Know Facts About Universal Health Coverage:

The universal health coverage lists out the following three main services that it ensures to provide people with.

  • Equal access to Health Services: Under this service, anyone who requires health services must be given as soon as possible, whether a person can pay or not pay for it. A medical emergency must be treated with utmost priority.
  • Quality of Healthcare: The universal health coverage also involves the quality of service to be rendered to an individual who requires immediate health service.
  • Protection Against Financial Risk: The universal health coverage scheme states that people seeking for medical assistance must be protected against financial risk or any sort of monetary harm.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) of 1948 had declared health to be a fundamental human right of the people and in 1978 it declared all health-related goals of sustainably providing healthcare to everyone. This has brought homes for millions around the world, especially for the poor.

Also Read: Government Health Insurance for Senior Citizens in India

What is Primary Health Care?

Primary healthcare was one of the major topics that were discussed at the global conference on primary healthcare held by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in October 2018. The fact that most people do not get enough primary healthcare were basic topic s that were discussed at the conference and spoke about sustainable ways in which medicine needs to be delivered to the needy. Primary health care set up by the WHO simply means caring for the people and this is the basics that every medical practitioner must keep in mind.

However, primary healthcare services comprise of three specific areas namely:

  • Empowering People and communities
  • Multisectoral medical action and policy; and
  • Primary care to be given to a person in need of medication or hospitalisation.

Note: All of the above-listed aims of the WHO includes various medical services ranging from vaccinations to treating chronic health problems. This also includes educating people on the aspect of family planning.

Why is Primary Healthcare Important?

Every single individual has the right to live and seek quality healthcare services and thus primary healthcare service is the first thing for a medical practitioner to keep in mind. Thus, a country with efficient primary healthcare services will deliver faster, efficient and improved quality of medical care. One the major way to make this, a success is when placing people at the centre of importance, also called people-centred care.

Contemporarily speaking, primary healthcare has been avoided by many private hospitals that run on money making ways. All thanks to the initiative taken by the WHO, that most people do not have to worry about seeking emergency medical services. This universal health scheme is one of the most important tools for putting most private hospitals to cater to medical help to the needy. Thus, when hospitals place their importance on the individual rather than the type of medication that has been offered, this would be the very first step to primary healthcare.

Universal Health Insurance Scheme:

The universal healthcare coverage includes a universal insurance that has made it a fundamental right for anyone everyone to enjoy a healthy life. Moreover, the governments of every country have provided plans for the protection of their citizens, especially first world countries. It is the third world countries that are still fighting the battle of providing quality and free healthcare to all its members.

The universal health insurance schemes were launched in 2003 that aimed at providing healthcare to the poorest of the poor, though this scheme was initiated for both below the poverty line and above poverty line families and individuals.

Also Read:  Karnataka Government Health Schemes and Insurance

Features of Universal Healthcare Insurance Scheme (UHIS):

Here are some of the salient features of the universal healthcare insurance scheme.

  • The UHI policy will be made available for a couple as well as family.
  • The UHI policy will be allotted only in the name of the earning head of the family.
  • The members who are covered under UHIS cannot be covered under any other health scheme.
  • Anyone between the age group of 5 to 70 years of age can enrol for UHIS
  • Children between the age group of 3 months to 5 years will be provided with healthcare benefits along with their parents.

Universal Health Coverage India:

Though the main goal of the Universal Health Coverage is to ensure that all of its people obtain health services without the hurdle of suffering from any sort f financial difficulty, this scheme requires cooperation from the world’s government to run it effectively and without any corruption.

However, in India, universal health coverage has been carried forward on this simple vision.

  • Ensures that every individual in the country obtains healthcare services without financial difficulty.

National Rural Health Mission (NRHM):

The national rural health mission that was launched by the Indian Government in 2005 was established on an aim to provide affordable, accessible and quality health services to the below poverty live families including rural population. However, this scheme had shown significant progress as it reduced the maternal mortality ration in the country from 407 to 100. However, this health scheme had certain problems.

Problems Faced by the Scheme:

Here are some of the issues that this scheme had to face:

  • Inadequate healthcare services by both public as well as the private sectors.
  • The quality of healthcare services too posed a threat both in private as well as private hospitals.
  • The affordability of healthcare services was a serious problem as most people still couldn’t afford primary healthcare.

Universal Health Benefits:

The Universal Health Benefits offered by the WHO are vast and this has been initiated to develop the lives of the economically downgraded and below poverty line families. Here are some of the health benefits that you can avail from the universal health benefits scheme.

  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Medical; and
  • Insurance: Provides 4 types of insurances such as (Basic life insurance; Accidental death insurance; Short-term and long-term disability Insurance; Retirement and savings insurance)

Well, there are many other areas of healthcare that the WHO also provides services in. Currently, the WHO provides 16 essential healthcare services in 4 different categories of healthcare. Here is a list of some of the other healthcare areas that the WHO has intended to provide services.

  • Reproductive and child healthcare
  • Treatment for infectious diseases; and
  • Equality in seeking medication and hospitalization; and
  • Non-communicable diseases (Preventing and treating Raise in blood sugar, blood glucose etc.)

Every nation has its own way of working out and implementing the universal health coverage scheme. This has been carried out by most third world countries in order to provide a better life to the poorer sections of society.

FAQs:

Human life must be treated essential and everybody has the right to live and so the universal healthcare coverage scheme by the World Health Organization (WHO) has made it a point to provide accessible, affordable and quality services for the backward classes in all countries. Here are some frequently asked questions that will shed some more insight into the topic of UHC.

  1. What are the advantages for countries using UHC?

If third world countries adopt UHC it can help lower healthcare costs in the country. However, the government can negotiate and control the rate of medication and treatment to be offered based on a countries progress. This healthcare service will ensure that doctors including hospitals will provide equal quality of services throughout a country.

  1. Does India have UHC?

Yes, there is universal healthcare services carried out in India, but the quality of healthcare remains to be bad as usual. Most people in India are below the poverty line and require free healthcare to survive. In this case, UHC scheme is said to be in progress by the government but it is not being reached out to most people who require it. Also, if an individual has to avail this scheme, it is considered to be a time-consuming yet complicated process.

  1. How many poor people in India require healthcare?

According to the Public Health Foundation of India, a total of 55 million Indians have been pushed to a state of poverty of which 38 million have reached below poverty line (BPL) annually. This means that there is an increase in the number of people going into poverty rather than getting out of it. With the UHC aiming at delivering quality, affordable and access to healthcare for the marginalised, it seems that this may be delusional by the Indian Government. Moreover, even if the scheme is carried out, there seems to be distress among people who find it difficult to avail it and acquire quality healthcare.

With provisions made by the World Health Organization trying to provide good health to people and ensuring that every human has the right to good health, it seems that this may not be a practical happening phenomenon in India.

The Indian government has provided various health schemes that will help ensure that the marginalised have access to quality healthcare and made it free of cost, but on the ground reality, this may not be the fact because none of these schemes is fully functional. Thus, all you can do is to try and avail these schemes and push the government to a working form rather than leaving them stagnant.

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