Secretary-General Spotlights Importance of Universal Health Coverage to Achieving Development Targets, in World Day Message

SG/SM/19534-OBV/1875
4 April 2019

Secretary-General Spotlights Importance of Universal Health Coverage to Achieving Development Targets, in World Day Message

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World Health Day, observed on 7 April:

This World Health Day focuses on universal health coverage and the crucial role primary health care plays in making such coverage a reality.  Half the world’s population is still unable to obtain the essential health services they need.  Universal health coverage is about changing this and ensuring equitable access to health services for all, without people experiencing financial hardship as a result.

This is central to building healthy societies and economies and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  And it is not just about improving health services.  It is about policies and action across many sectors.  We need to address the broader determinants of health, including social, economic and environmental factors.

And we must invest in people.  We need highly trained and skilled health workers who can educate and advocate for their patients.  We need empowered individuals who know how to take care of their health and that of their families.  And we need communities to have access to health care when and where they need it.  We must also highlight the importance of mental health, so often stigmatized and forgotten.

Primary health care is the key to achieving these goals and universal health coverage.  Last year’s Declaration of Astana on Primary Health Care has paved the way for the world to prioritize the investments we need.  Now it is time to implement the commitments made.

Health is a human right.  Political commitment and partnerships will be crucial in bringing it to life.  Let us show the world that we are ready to bridge the gaps in health-care coverage worldwide and deliver health for all.

For information media. Not an official record.