Over a 100 million people worldwide are pushed into extreme poverty paying for health services every year. That’s 100 million too many. International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) aims to mobilise diverse stakeholders to call for stronger, more equitable health systems to achieve universal health coverage, leaving no one behind. It has become the annual rallying point for the growing global movement for Health for All.
We need to remove barriers preventing people across the globe from accessing the quality health care they deserve, ensuring people don’t suffer discrimination or financial hardship. The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is the lead organisation in Australia for the Nursing Now campaign and supports other international health organisations campaigning for Universal Health Coverage. Everyone, everywhere deserves access to the quality health services they need,.
Australia’s Medicare system enables many Australians to access quality affordable health care and the life expectancy of Australians indicates we have good health compared to other countries. However, some Australians experience poorer health outcomes, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people living with a severe or profound disability, or with social and economic disadvantage, and those living in regional and rural/remote areas. Diabetes is increasing in prevalence in Australia and mental illness is an underdiagnosed and significant problem. Our nation needs to focus on building a more equitable health care system which requires placing more value on nurses and other health care workers.
Community and primary health care is one critical foundation for universal health care. Having these frontline services, particularly in rural and remote regions of the country, helps to strengthen community-based platforms and prioritise those who often lack the means to access health care. ACN supports having nurses in communities and out of hospitals and caring for people without creating silos, whenever possible through our annual Community and Primary Health Care Nursing Week campaign, which you can find out more about on our website.
Nurses have the power to use our collective voice to speak up for policies that will move towards good health and wellbeing for all Australians as well as the global population. To get involved in Universal Health Coverage Day visit the campaign website.