Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.
UHC is firmly based on the WHO constitution of 1948 declaring health a fundamental human right and on the Health for All agenda set by the Alma Ata declaration in 1978. UHC cuts across all of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and brings hope of better health and protection for the world’s poorest.
This definition of UHC embodies three related objectives:
- Equity in access to health services – everyone who needs services should get them, not only those who can pay for them;
- The quality of health services should be good enough to improve the health of those receiving services; and
- People should be protected against financial-risk, ensuring that the cost of using services does not put people at risk of financial harm.
Universal healthcare does not imply mean coverage for all people for everything, only that all people have access to healthcare. Some universal healthcare systems are government funded, while others are based on a requirement that all citizens purchase private health insurance. Universal healthcare can be determined by three critical dimensions: who is covered, what services are covered, and how much of the cost is covered
But the most important and often left out is the manner under which the healthcare service is often delivered to the population in timely, affordable manner and of an acceptable quality.
Digital Health on the other hand presents with potential solutions to challenges regularly faced in trying to deliver the goals of Universal Health Coverage and Primary Health Care.
With introduction of modern diagnostics, Digitalized Molecular drug design, Automation, Artificial intelligence, telehealth and so and so forth, Health care delivery has been made easy on both the sides of the population and the provider as well.
Digital health has added fragrance to healthcare in ensuring key aspects of Universal health care thereby making health service delivery:
- Effective, delivering health care that is adherent to an evidence base and results in improved health outcomes for individuals and communities, based on need;
- Efficient, delivering health care in a manner which maximizes resource use and avoids waste;
- Accessible, delivering health care that is timely, geographically reasonable, and provided in a setting where skills and resources are appropriate to medical need
- Acceptable/patient-centred, delivering health care which considers the preferences and aspirations of individual service users and the cultures of their communities;
- Equitable, delivering health care which does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics such as gender, race, ethnicity, geographical location, or socioeconomic status;
- Safe, delivering health care which minimizes risks and harm to service users.(WHO, 2006)
- ISO.(2015). Quality management Principles. Geneva: ISO Central Secretariat. Retrieved from https://www.iso.org/files/live/sites/isoorg/files/archive/pdf/en/pub100080.pdf
- McMahon, T. ( 2012, FEBRUARY 14). How Do You Define Quality.
- Smith, K. W. (2016). HealthCare Managment. (2nd, Ed.) Maidenhea: GBR: Open University Press.
- WHO. (2006). Quality of care. Geneva: WHO press. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/management/quality/assurance/QualityCare_B.Def.pdf