Why Is Access to Health Care Important?
By Anusree Mukherjee
reviewed by amadou barrow
Healthcare is “the organized provision of medical care to individuals or a community.” Health coverage is the access to healthcare without economic hardships. It focuses on a wide spectrum of services, from facilitating prevention to curing various health ailments.
Having access to healthcare is one of the most important factors for maintaining holistic health. Over 930 million people spend around 10% of their income on health coverage. Incorporating preventive health solutions while addressing healthcare expenses can help build a bridge and ensure greater wellness.
Universal Health Coverage (UHC)
Universal Health Care, or UHC, is the provision of accessibility of health coverage for all citizens. It allows us to live a life of dignity. Some governments do this by setting minimum healthcare regulations, while others implement them for the entire population.
People often discuss the question of healthcare as a human right or luxury. UHC’s main target is to provide healthcare throughout the world. Countries progressing towards healthcare solutions will flourish in other aspects of their life, with a longer life expectancy. Good health allows individuals to earn and can directly result in the economic development of countries.
Health is the primary factor when conducting any activity. The attainment of maximum healthcare requires the provision and care of healthcare workers. Adequate healthcare can minimize poverty as individuals can live longer, more active lives.
Benefits of UHC
- Everyone has health insurance; as a result, people don’t need to burn a hole in their pockets for medical care.
- It protects the health care costs of the national economy, as the government controls the pricing of the various healthcare services.
- Life expectancy is increased when everyone with UHC gets equal attention and treatment.
How can countries strive towards attaining UHC?
The COVID-19 pandemic took everyone by surprise. It proved that we require more healthcare funds for quicker and more adequate solutions. The growing demand for healthcare workers will add 40 million health sector jobs by 2030.
The pandemic also showed us that we must build infrastructure to educate and protect both health and care workers, in order to close the gap between the supply and demand in underdeveloped countries.
This brings us to investments in the field of UHC, which is the need of the hour. Financing structures are key for health and care services to function. The focus needs to be on the requirements of the communities.
The role of WHO
The World Health Organization’s upcoming five-year strategy (2019-2023), also known as the Thirteenth General Programme of Work (GPW 13), aims to attain healthcare for 1 billion people. WHO’s mission is advocating for health, keeping the world safe, and serving the vulnerable.
WHO has partnered with several organizations around the world to provide easy access to healthcare with a focus on especially on poverty-stricken areas and trying to maximize the availability of UHC around the world.
The German Healthcare System
Let’s look at the German healthcare system as an example, ensuring medically necessary healthcare for all. The healthcare system is based on a public-private system that offers financial protection to many. It is obligatory to have health coverage in Germany; as such, it is rather a straightforward process to apply for German public healthcare.
The free public healthcare system covers the costs of prescriptions, immunizations, and dental check-ups. It is one of the most reputed healthcare systems in the world. Contributions are based on income: the cost is about 15.6% of an employee’s total income; half is paid by the employer.
So, why don’t you research your country’s healthcare schemes and sign up for a health coverage program?
Seeking Holistic Health
Prevention is better than needing a cure!
- Disease Prevention: Preventive healthcare measures avoid the manifestation of a disease. Disease prevention helps cut down on costs associated with several diseases. Its focus is to keep you healthy.
Preventive health solutions are required to minimize the blow of several risk factors. Primary prevention is when we prevent the manifestation of any disease, such as when we get a vaccination. Secondary prevention detects diseases early and increases the chances for positive health outcomes, such as population-based screening programs.
- Health Promotion: This process introduced by the WHO enables individuals to remain healthy via the promotion of several policies and strategies, such as sexual health to promote holistic health. This process is for the betterment of health for communities at large and is mostly initiated by the government and healthcare workers.
Take control of your lifestyle
A healthy diet and lifestyle changes do make a difference. A Harvard study states that people who followed the following five steps lived a longer and healthier lifestyle than those who indulged otherwise.
- Healthy Diet – Remember your parents asking you to eat your greens? Well, they are right: a rich intake of all nutrients and vitamins is essential for health.
- Physical Activity – 30 minutes of daily physical activities can reduce the likelihood of health problems.
- Healthy Body Weight– Maintaining a healthy body weight for your body is essential to reach your health goals.
- Smoking – There is nothing healthy about smoking. Respiration of the toxic smoke has never recorded a positive outcome for our wellbeing.
- Alcohol Consumption – Moderate consumption of alcohol is advised by health specialists, with 5-15 grams per day for women and 5-30 grams per day for men. Generally, just one drink contains 14 grams of alcohol.
It might seem challenging to try and maintain your health by taking preventive measures, but you can always reach out to others for support! Use your financial knowledge to help you live a life where all your health needs are covered.
Amadou is a public/global health researcher and a digital health researcher and analyst at SolaVieve. He received a BSc in public health with honors from the University of The Gambia and a master’s degree in reproductive & family health from the University of Benin, Nigeria. He is also completing a master’s degree in international health at Heidelberg University, Germany. He is a passionate digital health enthusiast with a special focus on holistic health and wellbeing at individual and population levels.
Go!, I. (2020, August 20). Health Insurance and the Healthcare System of Germany Explained. Guide to Healthcare in Germany. https://www.internations.org/go/moving-to-germany/healthcare
A. (2021). World Health Organization – Eastern Mediterranean Region. WHO EMRO. http://www.emro.who.int/about-who/public-health-functions/health-promotion-disease-prevention.html
Universal Health Coverage. (2019, July 16). Universal Health Coverage. https://www.who.int/health-topics/universal-health-coverage#tab=tab_1
Tello, M. (2020, March 30). Healthy lifestyle: 5 keys to a longer life. Harvard Health Blog. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/healthy-lifestyle-5-keys-to-a-longer-life-2018070514186