Health for All Through Women’s Human Rights: Ensuring Universal Health Coverage & Social Protection

CSW63 Event

Health for All Through Women’s Human Rights: Ensuring Universal Health Coverage & Social Protection – hosted by World Health Organization (WHO)

A blog by Lee Ann Cochran

“The key message heard repeatedly during this session was that Universal Health Coverage (UHC), is possible for all countries, when you have unwavering political commitment.

Why Universal Health Coverage? Health is a human right. UHC means that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. No one should be driven into poverty because of ill health or high medical expenses. Women and infants should not be held in hospitals for extended periods of time as many can not afford the hospital costs, instead we should deliver affordable, quality and accessible services to all.

This thought-provoking session began with Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and current chair of The Elders, who shared “the urgency of women and girl’s leadership in ensuring healthy societies and a healthy planet”. With enthusiasm she stated: “It goes without saying that increasing the number of women in leadership positions is a prerequisite in achieving the goal of gender equality. Only 6% of heads of state are women, I was with a few of them last night and we almost had all of them in the room, it is ridiculous…It is encouraging to see young women leaders taking on leadership roles.”

Susan Papp, Managing Director, Policy and Advocacy at Women Deliver, walked us through the role of women’s movements as a precursor for meaningful change and had 4 call to actions, to drive impact and change:

1. Involve Civil Society

2. Ensure data and information is available and disseminated

3. Unite advocates

4. Join Women Deliver on 3 to 6 of June, with a focused theme around power.

Some key facts to keep in mind around UHC:

* At least half of the world’s populations still do not have full coverage of essential health services;

* About 100 million people are still being pushed into “extreme poverty” because they have to pay for health care;

* Globally, it is estimated that more than 40% of all pregnant women were not receiving early antenatal care in 2013;

* About one third (35%) of women experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence at some point in their life;

A few countries to watch regarding their impact with UHC include Ireland, Japan and Thailand. While there is much work to do many organisations are making an impact. Let us work together to have health care for all people, without discrimination, leaving no one behind”.


Lead image far right: Lee Ann Cochran

Visit WHO to find out more about UHC

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