International Universal Health Coverage Day, observed on December 12, is an international holiday started by the United Nations. The holiday aims to promote affordable and quality healthcare for all citizens of the world. Having access to affordable medicine and treatment is a basic human right that should be available to everyone. This is currently not the case and the U.N. is calling for a change.
History of International Universal Health Coverage Day
The United Nations have long taken it upon itself to advocate for those who have no voices or are often not heard. International Universal Health Coverage Day promotes making affordable healthcare accessible to everyone. They started this holiday to advance the idea that all humans have the right to healthcare. It’s a call for all nations to support their citizens equally and leave no one behind as healthcare is a basic human right.
This holiday was proclaimed in 2017 and is observed annually on December 12. Their partners are the World Health Organization (WHO), The Rockefeller Foundation, Oxfam, World Bank Group, and Save the Children. This is only one of the United Nations’ projects that aim to advance human rights.
Universal health coverage was included in the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are 17 goals that help create a “more sustainable future for all.” These goals were set up in 2015 and are intended to be achieved by 2030. They include No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, Reduced Inequality, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and Partnerships for the Goals.
International Universal Health Coverage Day timeline
After World War II, healthcare systems begin to be set up around the world.
The United Nations General Assembly urges countries to make progress toward universal healthcare coverage.
Universal health coverage is included in the Sustainable Development Goals for 2015 — 2030.
The United Nations proclaims December 12 as International Universal Health Coverage Day.
International Universal Health Coverage Day FAQs
Is there universal healthcare in Canada?
Canada funds its healthcare system through taxes, and any citizen or resident can apply for health insurance. You must live in Canada for three months to be eligible for free healthcare.
Can immigrants in Canada get free healthcare?
Yes, immigrants receive free healthcare under the Canada Health Act.
What country has the best healthcare?
South Korea has the best healthcare system worldwide.
How to Observe International Universal Health Coverage Day
Host events in your local community and schools to raise awareness about this issue. Create pamphlets and share statistics from around the world to let others know how dire the problem is.
Donate to the cause
There are many organizations you can donate to. The most reputable are Doctors Without Borders and the U.N. Refugee Agency (U.N.H.C.R.).
Keep yourself and others around you informed on the matter. Read the news or follow UNICEF and the United Nations on social media to keep up to date on world matters.
5 Facts You Need To Know About Healthcare
Brazil doesn’t discriminate
Brazil is the only country where anyone, regardless of ethnicity or nationality, can receive instant and free healthcare that covers any kind of treatment.
Many countries are already doing it
No one can say it can’t be done because many countries have affordable or free healthcare — there are 43 countries with free or universal healthcare, most of which are in Europe.
The U.S. has higher healthcare taxes
Despite not having universal healthcare, the U.S. has the highest healthcare taxes in the world as well as the highest healthcare cost in the world.
Americans visit doctors less often
Statistics show that people in the U.S. are visiting their primary care doctors less and less — the number of adults going a year without a doctor’s visit went down from 38% to 46% in just two years.
Many are dying
It’s estimated that 3.6 million people die yearly due to lack of access to healthcare and five million people die yearly as a result of poor-quality healthcare.
Why International Universal Health Coverage Day is Important
It’s a global issue
Universal healthcare is an issue for everyone. Even if you live somewhere with universal healthcare, you might be unlucky when traveling abroad and find yourself paying ridiculous amounts of money for treatment.
It’s not just about the cost
While cost might be the first thing to come to mind when we think of healthcare, this isn’t the only issue for some people. Many poor countries and countries at war also struggle to get necessities such as food, clean water, and vaccines. These neglected countries continue to suffer from easily cured ailments as a result.
It raises awareness
Promoting this day can help raise people’s awareness of the issue and encourage them to donate more to help struggling countries.
International Universal Health Coverage Day dates