The World Health Organization, WHO for the 70th time this year, celebrates the 7th of April as the World Health Day. The WHO has been operating under the guiding principle of “Health for all” for more than seven decades now.
It is hoped that local and global conversations about how to achieve universal health coverage for all will be initiated and hopefully, continued on the back of the celebrations of this world health day on the 7th of April.
“In this 70th anniversary”, according to the WHO, it is “calling on world leaders to live up to the pledges they made when they agreed the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 and commit to concrete steps to advance the health of all people.”
But what does it really mean to have health for all? In answering the ensuing questions, one will get a fair idea of the answer to this question:
- Can the very least on the socio-economic ladder amongst us be able to access adequate, effective, quality and timely healthcare at little or no cost when needed?
- In case of the unfortunate situation where you are taken ill suddenly requiring emergency hospital care, how are you likely going to be transported to the hospital?
- At the emergency post of the hospital, are you likely to receive emergency care without you having to pay out of pocket?
- How many health facilities can you identify in Ghana whose services are solely meant for only children?
- How many women do you know that died out of the complications of pregnancy and childbirth?
- What are the chances of a child dying before his or her 5th birthday in Ghana?
- How long are you likely to spend in reaching a facility for care?
- How long do you think you will have to wait in a public facility to complete the processes for receiving care?
- On a scale of 0 to 100, how will you rate the services you received at your last hospital visit?
- What was the name of the healthcare provider who last attended to you?
- Are you likely to get specialist care within a 20km radius of your residence?
- Will you vote for a government that made substantial investments in health care research or the one that made similar investments into roads and infrastructure?
Healthcare of standard international quality is expensive. It requires huge capital investments in human resource training, equipment and infrastructure and quality healthcare research. Healthcare financing to achieve quality healthcare delivery requires governmental and private sector collaboration.
The human resource component influence of quality healthcare cannot be overemphasized: better means of attracting suitably qualified persons who are actually passionate about the profession should be used to sought for such individuals. A smart person does not necessarily make a good healthcare professional.
No matter how passionate or smart the healthcare provider, state of the art hospital diagnostic and therapeutic equipment in the hands of a well-trained and competent provider, are ultimately required to make the difference between life and death.
Targeted and goal-directed programmatic planning coupled with heavy capital investment to train competent health care practitioners equipped with the appropriate state of the art tools make a quality healthcare delivery system.
Remember to tune in to “Staying Alive” on Ultimate 106.9FM, this and every Sunday from 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Author: Dr. Lawrence Osei-Tutu
Child Blood disorders and Cancer Specialist
Host of Staying Alive on Ultimate 106.9FM