Public health through universal health coverage can help to attain many SDGs

UN SDGs Health

Figure 1.0 The reversible relationship between EPHOs, UHC and SDGs to illustrate public health’s contribution to the attainment of five SDGs (James, 2018).

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Rosemary James, a fourth year medical student at the National University of Ireland, Galwa. She is co-chair for the Association of Medical Students Ireland (AMSI) in Galway. Ms James is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA). The opinion expressed in this piece belongs to the writer and does not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

As medical students of the twenty-first century, we are witnessing a rapid shift in our education – it is adapting toward care of preventable disease. With non-communicable disease accounting for more than half the global burden of disease, and injuries for 11%, the way medicine is taught has clearly got to change. However, education in prevention and early detection of such diseases seems to be lacking.

There are seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which countries worldwide are aiming to attain by the year 2030. Each of these goals are interconnected in some way to SDG three, Good Health and Wellbeing. If countries are to be successful in this ambitious feat, they should be advancing their public health services at a national and local level. The prevention, early detection and management of chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease is crucial for attaining the SDGs. Investing in public health services is the way forward, toward a brighter future for all. Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is a perfect means of doing so.

Valuing UHC improves overall health outcomes while cost-effectively strengthening health systems and aiding to attain other SDGs.  There are sixteen health services used to measure UHC attainment.

In mapping the criteria used to monitor SDG and UHC attainment against public health services, I have found that the ten Essential Public Health Operations (EPHOs) directly contribute to the attainment of five SDGs and to UHC achievement, as outlined in Figure 1.0.

Unfortunately for us, there is yet to be a global framework for measuring UHC coverage ‐ due to unique health needs of each country, and lack of available service coverage data. In spite of this, there are various tracer indicators which WHO suggests member states use. In 2016 there was sixteen proxy tracer indicators proposed, to be the monitoring framework for UHC. These indicators fall under four categories: Service capacity and access, Reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, Infectious Diseases, and Non‐Communicable diseases (NCDs).

However, as disease burden is shifting, there has been pressure to add more comprehensive tracer indicators. Such that could monitor access to preventative services, for example. Did you know that mental health or substance abuse services, nutrition, occupational safety, health literacy, self‐management of chronic disease, and injury prevention are currently not a measure of UHC?

Devoting resources toward treatment more so than prevention of disease is no way forward. Rather than trying to plug a hole in a bath with the tap running, let us tighten this tap.

As future healthcare professionals, let us equip ourselves with the tools for disease prevention, health protection and health promotion, to ensure we are knowledgeable about diseases we are going to see increasingly worldwide. UHC has the potential to improve health outcomes if public health services are invested in using the EPHO’s. We just need to be sure the way we are measuring it is well thought out and agreed upon worldwide.

References

  1. Martin-Moreno JM. , Self-assessment tool for the evaluation of essential public health operations in the WHO European Region, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, 2014
  2. New York: United Nations, Revised list of global Sustainable Development Goal indicators, 2017
  3. Kieny MP, Bekedam H, Dovlo D, Fitzgerald J, Habicht J, Harrison G, et al. Strengthening health systems for universal health coverage and sustainable development. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2017 Jul 1;95(7):537–9.
  4. Schmidt H, Gostin L, Emanuel E. Public health, universal health coverage, and Sustainable Development Goals: can they coexist? The Lancet. 2015;386(9996):928-930.
  5. Tracking universal health coverage: First global monitoring report. Joint WHO/World Bank Group report, June 2015
  6. Boerma T, AbouZahr C, Evans D, Evans T. Monitoring Intervention Coverage in the Context of Universal Health Coverage. PLoS Medicine. 2014 Sep 22;11(9):e1001728.

About the author

Rosie is a Canadian-British student from Vancouver. She is in her fourth year of her medical degree at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She is passionate about improving global health through health promotion and disease prevention projects. Rosie is a co-chair for the Association of Medical Students Ireland (AMSI) in Galway. She is also national coordinator for Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) Ireland, an organization that is committed to changing the R&D system for better access to medicines. Recently, she took an internship with the World Health Organization where she was able to become familiar with the Sustainable Development Goals, an area that has since sparked great interest in her.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Chart of the day: When do young Europeans leave home?

Connected Claims returns to London in 2018

Gaza probe finds ‘reasonable grounds’ Israeli forces committed international human rights violations

No agreement in sight on EU budget

The EU checks the multinationals for tax fraud but Britain may sail out of the EU via Panama

Schengen is losing ground fast revealing Europe’s clear inability to deal with migration crisis

The Impact of climates changes in health: a problem for all of us

Brexit: Ensuring a smooth transition for car producers and safety on the roads

‘Race against time’ to help women who bore brunt of Cyclone Idai: UN reproductive health agency

France is about to start giving free breakfasts to disadvantaged schoolchildren

How secure is blockchain?

We have to learn to trust Artificial Intelligence. Here’s how

Humanitarian visas would reduce refugees’ death toll

Eurozone stuck in a high risk deflation area; Draghi expects further price plunge

EntEx Organises 5 Summer Schools for Young Entrepreneurs across Europe in June/July 2014

As children in Ebola-affected areas of DR Congo head back to school, UNICEF ramps up support

Cocaine and opium production worldwide hit ‘absolute record highs’ – major threat to public health says UN study

Youth Entrepreneurship Issue of the month: JEN, organisers of JADE October Meeting, on why JEs should come together

Scientists are growing meat on blades of grass

Japan should reform retirement policies to meet challenge of ageing workforce

The miserables and the untouchables of the economic crisis

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity: Why consumer products must be looked at urgently”, by BEUC’s Deputy Director General

Global climate change: consequences for human health in Brazilian cities

Brexit kick-off: a historic day for the EU anticlockwise

Eurozone: Black economy loves the South

EU: Protecting victims’ rights from cartels and market abuses

European car industry: The Germans want it all

Single-use plastics: New EU rules to reduce marine litter

Trying to cure bank cancer with analgesics

If we can build the International Space Station, ‘we can do anything’ – UN Champion for Space

Trump’s Russian affair spills over and upsets Europe

Failing to see reality or deceiving the masses? The EU about poverty and social exclusion

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: UNFCCC Secretariat Launches Forest Information Hub

Parliament commemorates the victims of the Holocaust

Global growth is slowing amid rising trade and financial risks

Women in Iceland have walked out of work to dispute the gender pay gap

Who may profit from the rise of the extreme right in the West?

A Sting Exclusive: “Stronger Cybersecurity for a safer EU against cybercrime and cyber threats”, by MEP Dalli

Interview with ourselves: the mental health of health professionals

At COP24, countries agree concrete way forward to bring the Paris climate deal to life

Why the UN is investigating poverty in the United Kingdom

ISIL’s ‘legacy of terror’ in Iraq: UN verifies over 200 mass graves

The West and Russia accomplished the dismembering and the economic destruction of Ukraine

Three ways China can make the New Silk Road sustainable

China is a renewable energy champion. But it’s time for a new approach

Brexit negotiations: Can May’s Britain bounce back?

Here are three technology trends changing the way you travel

Colombia: New Congress marks rebel group’s transition ‘from weapons to politics’, says UN

MWC19 Wrap Up, in association with The European Sting, GSMA’s Brussels Media Partner for the 6th Consecutive Year

Peru should help more young vulnerable people into work

The EU Parliament blasts the Council about the tax dealings of the wealthy

Greek citizens to pay the price again but Tsipras risks losing next elections

Chart of the day: These countries have the largest carbon footprints

European Parliament and Eurovision sign partnership for European Elections

France is building a village for people with Alzheimer’s

Bankruptcy or referendum: which one is going to be first?

Estonia is making public transport free

MEPs urge EU states to ensure better care of transported animals

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity Act for safer European Industries and Consumers against cyberthreats”, by MEP Niebler

More than one billion people do not have access to electricity. What will it take to get them connected?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s