Prioritize Universal Health Coverage - AFRICA

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As the world prepares to mark the World Malaria Day on 25 April this year, it is right time for African governments to consider prioritizing a Universal Health Coverage (UHC) scheme to cater for the booming and mushrooming population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2017, the main goal of universal health coverage is to ensure that all people obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them. Africa for instance has a projected population of 1.25 billion people with more than half of the population having less than 35 years. This means that continent will have to spend more in providing basic health services yet the virulence of some diseases is on the rise. Malaria for example killed about 445,000 people in 2016, and pressured a slightly higher burden in 2017 despite the various interventions to combat the disease (Malaria Fact sheet, updated November 2017).

Why the delay?

It is argued that the progress towards a UHC involves a range of complex technical challenges and also not to lose sight of the fact that moving toward UHC is a political process that involves negotiation between different interest groups in society over the allocation of health benefits and who should pay for a particular amount. However, it should also be noted that it takes time and a much through debate for a policy to be effective. My worry is, why not begin the process towards a UHC now before it’s too late?

I am very sure all countries, whether rich or poor, limit service entitlements in different ways in a process called rationing, and decisions about how to ration benefits influences health system performance through a number of ways, this is the same reason why neglected tropical diseases are killing a number of people in Africa. It is such a shame yet our policy makers seem to be silent yet agitating for a number of reforms in democracy, security, forgetting about their own health until that time they are flied off to London or India for treatment. If indeed we are having leaders who are patriotic and pan Africanists, Universal Health Coverage is the way to go, let us save lives and live a legacy - African!

I am proudly African.

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