Global Health Academy

Universal Health Coverage - Health for All

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is about ensuring all health services are available to all individuals and communities and that in obtaining these services no financial hardship is caused. Today December 12th 2016 is the 3rd annual international UHC day in the growing movement pushing for Health for All

Health is not a product, it's the source and the sustainer of life and therefore of humanity.  Health is arguably at the heart of our world, the health of all people intricately connected with the health of the land, the sea, the air, of nature, and the health of the animal world. 

Health care therefore should be a common good, the outworking of our value base that believes in a common humanity. 

The aspirations of UHC are to ensure that care to sustain wellness, to prevent illness, to intercept, treat and manage disease, and to support living well until death is available to all in a way that doesn't negatively impact on a person's or family's economic resources 

The two parts to UHC - a) access to ensure coverage to all and b) the business case for coverage through managing financial risk have received unequal attention. Strategies to develop innovative funding packages to cover the cost of care have moved discussion away from the prioritisation of health to the commercialisation of healthcare .  But is this model  the right one?  If a different paradigm was invoked would a different set of options and solutions become viable. 

Today we advocate that all countries place the health of all their people regardless of their stage of life , rather than the health care services and health systems at the heart of their nationhood. Flowing from this core commitment to health and wellness as a value base of nationhood , the strategies needed to develop and deliver health care shift from being a commercial contractual service where patients and state barter with each other in various forms to develop, deliver and access healthcare to one where healthcare is understood as protection of the lifeblood of a nation, it's very heart and soul. 

Dr Liz GrantAssistant Principal, Global Health and Director, Global Health Academy
What is the University of Edinburgh doing to support UHC 

In the Global Health Academy we firmly advocate for the principle that we should leave no one behind   Many of our programmes with ODA recipient country partners work with the most vulnerable of communities, women disparaged by society because of the insult of FGM on their bodies, those with severe mental illness in rural communities, children affected by numerous neglected tropical diseases, people dying of heart failure, COPD or cancers left to suffer unimaginable pain because of a lack of health staff and no access to pain relief. 

Our online MSc programmes are specifically about increasing capacity in stretched health systems.  Students study part time while continuing to work often in areas of huge need.  

Our Research and programme implementation is encouraging new and different approaches to wellness, for example using sport and physical activity to promote and sustain healthiness .

Within our global academies we are looking at new  ways to reduce waste in all its forms within the environment.    Promoting health means preserving reusing, repurposing, protecting all our rich resources of people, of the planet and of peace.

Could a new paradigm be developed that created a circular economy where the reduction of waste of all types and the redirection of previous waste products into new  reusable forms contribute to a different more holistic funding stream for health care.  Promoting and enabling health through caring for the whole environment encourages a new way of thinking about  UHC.