The UN General Assembly has set an ambitious target of achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030.
The goal is to ensure that all citizens of the world have access to health services including financial risk protection, access to quality essential healthcare services and access to quality and affordable essential medicines.
The Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030 (CSEM), a broad civil society constituency of the International Health Partnership for UHC2030 which is working towards the realisation of this goal across the globe, has appointed Ghana’s Dr Maxwell Antwi as one of the five-member Advisory Group to co-represent Africa and the Caribbean.
Dr. Antwi, who is the Country Director of PharmAccess Foundation, an international development organisation with a digital agenda dedicated to connecting more people to better health care in Africa, also serves as a member of the Health Sector Working Group of the Health Ministry of Ghana.
According to Dr Antwi, the goal of the Group is to first coordinate health system strengthening efforts globally and mobilise civil society voices to position marginalised and vulnerable people at the centre of health policies.
The Advisory Group is tasked to also mobilise political momentum and resources to support UHC2030 and make it the number one priority for all countries in the world.
“The ability of the world to come around and ensure that all people, irrespective of socioeconomic class can have timely access to quality health services irrespective of ability to pay at the point of use, has been touted as a game-changer.” Dr Antwi said.
Dr Antwi is of the view that with broad-based support, it is possible to get all the cost for health care around the world covered without the need to pay at the point of use.
“To achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030, we must first coordinate efforts at strengthening health systems across nations, continents and globally. The second key component is to gather political momentum for this,” Mr Antwi stressed.
According to him, health must be placed at the top of the agenda of countries and not as an afterthought. “People must be alive to participate in planting for food and jobs, people must be alive to enjoy free SHS.”
The Advisory Group is tasked also with ensuring that countries spend enough of annual national budget on health. In April 2001, for instance, the African Union countries met in Abuja and pledged to set a target of allocating at least 15 percent of their annual national budget to improve the health sector and urged donor countries to scale up support.
“At the national and continental level, are we achieving our Abuja Declaration of 15 percent of national budget assigned to health? Ghana has become a shining example in Africa in prioritising health but we are not there yet – we are currently doing 9-10 percent on annual national budget for health, Dr Antwi explained.