A group of actors working across the globe on rehabilitation services, on Saturday expressed concern that while rehabilitation was defined within the Universal Health Coverage (UHC), it was rarely discussed and included within global health planning.
A statement issued to Commemorate Universal Health Coverage Day, celebrated on 12th December every year with the United Nations calling for countries to provide affordable, quality health care to every person, everywhere said rehabilitation services, including assistive health technologies, are “a set of measures that assist individuals who experience, or are likely to experience, disability to achieve and maintain optimal functioning in interaction with their environments”.
Universal health coverage has been included in the new Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.
The statement said rehabilitation services contributed to healthy, independent populations which could fully participate in society, “On this UHC Day we want to ensure that these vital services for millions of people around the world are not forgotten”
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is vital to achieve a healthy population in the 21st Century. It seeks to foster equitable and sustainable access to health services; addresses emerging and longstanding challenges in health; ensures people don’t suffer financial hardship when seeking healthcare; and supports economic and development progress.
The statement, therefore, called for those working on UHC to establish and recognize rehabilitation and health technologies as a crucial component of universal health coverage and elaboration of a list of Priority Assistive Products (APL), Include indicators for rehabilitation and assistive health technologies within the basic package of essential health services covered under UHC and include persons with disabilities in innovative health financing solutions that aim to achieve UHC, as they often face institutional barriers to participation in such protection
The statement said societies could not progress with economic development without ensuring access to quality, affordable, accessible, appropriate health services
It quoted Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, that Universal Health Coverage was the means to address these changes, saying “UHC is the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer.”
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