Highlight from 74th Session of UN General Assembly

Achieving Universal Health Coverage (URC)

Washington, DC, September 24, 2019 – AIHA’s Board member, Dr. Muhammad Pate, is quoted in a press release accompanying a landmark report on Achieving Universal Health Coverage (URC) that was issued on Sunday in conjunction with this week’s UN General Assembly (UNGA). “The goal of universal health coverage will remain elusive unless countries take urgent steps to protect people from falling into poverty to pay for essential health care,” says Dr. Muhammad Pate, Global Director, Health, Nutrition, and Population at the World Bank. “Expanding access to quality primary health care services will save more lives and keep health care costs affordable.”

For almost 30 years, AIHA has been implementing programs aimed at improving health care and strengthening health systems in support of URC. “AIHA applauds this report and supports its recommendations, calling upon governments, multilateral organizations, donor agencies, implementing partners, and civil society to do more so that universal health coverage can be realized,” said David Greeley, AIHA’s President & CEO.

Attaining URC is critical to achieving Goal #3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The status of the SDGs is another of the 5 major themes being addressed at this year’s UNGA. According to a recently issued report by the UN Secretary-General on progress towards the SDG’s, “Available data from 2013 to 2018 indicate that close to 40 per cent of all countries had fewer than 10 medical doctors per 10,000 people, and more than 55 per cent had fewer than 40 nursing and midwifery personnel per 10,000 people. All least developed countries had fewer than 10 medical doctors and fewer than 5 dentists and 5 pharmacists per 10,000 people, and 98 per cent had fewer than 40 nursing and midwifery personnel per 10,000 people”.

“While we still have a long way to go, for its part, AIHA has successfully engaged in close to 200 partnerships in some 35 countries across the globe. These efforts have had measurable impact in improving health workforce capacity to address a wide spectrum of disease areas”, added Greeley. AIHA’s vision is a world with access to quality healthcare for everyone, everywhere. AIHA’s mission is to strengthen health systems and workforce capacity worldwide through locally-driven, peer-to-peer institutional partnerships.

Throughout the week, UNGA will hold a number of meetings and important discussions on how best to accelerate actions to achieve URC, including how to bridge the health workforce gap.