Why Should We Care Universal Health Coverage?

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Deisha Laksmitha Ayomi, a medical doctor at emergency hospital for COVID-19 in Surabaya, Indonesia. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

To achieve universal health coverage, we must be able to fulfill the four pillars:
1. Equality : everybody has equal access to the care, no matter financial status or ethical background

2. Fairness – it’s free, thou everyone pays a small payment regardless the care received. Besides progressive taxation according to the one’s income. Government should introduce a flat small amount of fee each time a person get access to healthcare (the amount of fee depend whether they need nurses, public health doctors or specialists). The government should subsidize a patient’s cost of medication after a certain threshold is passed, for example in Finland if a patient pays more than around 600€/ year for his/ her medication then the govt will heavily subsidize the cost after the 600€ threshold is passed.

3. Freedom of choice : patient can choose the health provider freely

4. Modern : regularly updated national guidelines and modern unified. The guidelines should be updated regularly, it should be online and easily accessible . This means that govt should also increase the online access even in remote public health center. Indonesia launched recently a satellite to increase internet access in remote villages, which can be used to increase access to health information and education. equipment, even in small hospitals

5. Sufficient funds for research and innovation

But however, one of the main disadvantage of universal health Care is the cost, which can put a significant burden to the country. That’s why in Finland, they emphasize on prevention because in the long run, prevention of diseases is more affordable. One of the example is through government programs to discourage the consumption of saturated fat. The national consumption of it has decreases in the last 30 years and median of National cholesterol levels has significantly decreased (between the year 1972-2007).

            Palliative care is an important part of universal health coverage because it is included in human rights. It is important to improve the quality of life for patients, especially those who are experiencing serious life-threatening disease. They are often ignored. Apart from medical care, emotional and physiological aspects must be fulfilled for both the patient’s family and the patient. The government must work hard to make palliative care a priority.

About the author

Deisha Laksmitha Ayomi is a medical doctor at emergency hospital for COVID-19 in Surabaya, Indonesia

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