World Health Day
Posted on April 05 2019
This Sunday is World Health Day, a yearly celebration by the World Health Organization (WHO) to create awareness of health issues that impact not just our local communities but our world community. This year's focus is on access to primary healthcare, which is still shockingly limited in many areas of the world:
- At least half of the world's citizens do not receive the health care they need.
- Nearly 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty each year due to out-of-pocket spending on health care.
- Low-quality health care costs the world trillions of dollars each year.
- 4.5% of Americans fail to receive necessary health care every year due to cost.
- Nearly 12% of Americans do not have a regular primary care location.
- Over 27 million Americans do not have health insurance coverage.
Universal Health Coverage and Primary Health Care
The WHO stresses the importance of universal health coverage, which they define as a system where, "all people have access to the quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship." This depends heavily on quality, accessible primary health care services, which can include:
- Screening for health problems.
- Preventative care.
- Health education.
- Family planning.
- Treatment for long- and short-term conditions.
- Coordination with other levels of care, including specialists.
The advantages of a health care system with strong primary care are numerous, including improved quality of care, better health outcomes, and improved cost efficiency. These advantages come from improved patient education, more direct attention on specific needs, and more emphasis on preventative care. The close relationships that primary care physicians establish with patients improve patient morale and self-care, and help the patient advocate for their care. Primary care workers can also be crucial in advocating for communities with specific needs stemming from their cultures and traditions.
How You Can Help
Quality health care is a basic human right and one that improves individual lives as well as economies and societies. The most important thing you can do to help extend this right to everyone is get involved! Here are some ideas:
- Tell Your Story: if you've had an important care experience in your life, share it with everyone via social media, or even by writing to publications both local and national.
- Educate Yourself: learn about important topics like universal health coverage, preventative care, vaccinations, or nutrition and share your new knowledge!
- Write Your Politicians: express your views on the importance of affordable, accessible health care to the policy makers who have the power to help.
- Volunteer: volunteer your time with a community health organization. Even if you're not a health care worker, there are plenty of ways you can assist your community!