The independent Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) Commission unveiled its State of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Africa Report, a comprehensive document that maps the progress made and details the challenges and opportunities faced by African countries on their journeys towards achieving universal health coverage.
As defined by the WHO, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) means ‘ensuring that all people have access to needed health services (including prevention, promotion, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliation) of sufficient quality to be effective while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user the financial hardship. Universal health coverage is therefore a major goal for health reform in many countries and a priority objective of WHO.
Also Read: African men more likely to die of COVID-19 than women — WHO study
According to the report, Africa’s health systems are not aimed at meeting these healthcare needs. Only 48% of Africa’s total population receive the healthcare services they need while for the poor, the disabled, and other vulnerable groups – including women and girls unfortunately coverage of essential health care services is decidedly low. Professor Francis Omaswa, Commissioner of the independent Africa Health Agenda International Conference’s (AHAIC) Commission on the State of UHC in Africa and also part of the team who reviewed the continent’s progress towards UHC noted that Africa is off course in terms of achieving the UHC 2030 agenda and is not going to achieve most of those targets unless something dramatic happens. He emphasized that a new mindset and leadership direction is needed
There is therefore a need for Africa to turn its transformation energy inwards, investing in and strengthening primary healthcare systems to build the foundation for universal health coverage.