COVID-19 is a universal threat against the health and wellbeing of all of us and therefore requires universal protective measures. Our best hope is to develop an effective vaccine, which logically should be given to everyone, to stop future outbreaks spreading and potentially eradicate the disease.
But, for the foreseeable future, as the virus spreads around the world and there is potential for people to be reinfected, this disease remains a threat to all of humanity. So, with such a deadly disease ever-present and able to flare up quickly, it is in all our interests that there is truly universal access to a full range of health services needed to tackle the disease.… Seguir leyendo »
As the COVID-19 pandemic presents the greatest threat to human health in over a century, people turn to their states to resolve the crisis and protect their health, their livelihoods and their future well-being.
How leaders perform and respond to the pandemic is likely to define their premiership – and this therefore presents a tremendous opportunity to write themselves into the history books as a great leader, rescuing their people from a crisis. Just as Winston Churchill did in World War Two.
Following Churchill’s advice to “never let a good crisis go to waste”, if leaders take decisive action now, they may emerge from the COVID-19 crisis as a national hero.… Seguir leyendo »
At the United Nations general assembly in September, all countries, including South Africa, reaffirmed their commitment to achieving universal health coverage by 2030. This is achieved when everybody accesses the health services they need without suffering financial hardship.
As governments outlined their universal health coverage plans, it was noticeable that some had made much faster progress than others, with some middle-income countries outperforming wealthier nations. For example, whereas Thailand, Ecuador and Georgia (with national incomes similar to South Africa) are covering their entire populations, in the United States, 30 million people still lack health insurance and expensive health bills are the biggest cause of personal bankruptcy.… Seguir leyendo »
Despite protests and warnings of poor households not being able to access vital services, this policy was soon imposed across practically the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. But it was in Mali that a compromise was agreed on the charging of user fees, which perhaps had the biggest impact in ensuring it became standard practice across Africa. Called the Bamako Initiative, it argued that charging user fees could actually benefit the poor.
Laudable intentions failed miserably
The theory went that, if the local community had a role in setting fee rates and managing revolving drug funds (by patients being charged slightly above the wholesale price to maintain drug stocks) services would be affordable and quality maintained.… Seguir leyendo »
Around the world, human-rights activists fight on behalf of people imprisoned in unsanitary jails and denied a fair trial. These victims often suffer the double indignity of being mistreated by their captors and deprived of basic services. In many countries, these abuses are not only taking places in prisons, but in hospitals, too.
A new Chatham House paper that I co-authored with Tom Brookes and Eloise Whitaker shows that up to hundreds of thousands of people are detained in hospitals against their will each year. Their crime? Being too poor to pay their medical bills. This phenomenon is particularly prevalent in several sub-Saharan African countries, notably Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, and Kenya, but there is also evidence of it in India and Indonesia.… Seguir leyendo »
In the extraordinary political battles in the UK and US in recent months, the issue of access to healthcare has been wielded to great effect. In the run-up to the UK’s 2015 general election, the Conservative government suddenly found £8 billion to inject into the nation’s beloved NHS. According to pro-Brexit campaigners, a year later, this would be dwarfed by the £350 million per week they claimed would be spent on the NHS were Britain to leave the EU. Meanwhile in the US, Senator Bernie Sanders’s extended campaign in the primaries was sustained by his commitment to bring healthcare to all Americans.… Seguir leyendo »