The push for UHC creates a major opportunity to radically improve health access and outcomes for all people everywhere, tackling the gross health inequalities that persist. In effect UHC accounts for the fact that all people have the right to the highest attainable physical and mental health, one of the fundamental rights enshrined within the United Nations bill of rights.
This coming year, the international community will establish the Sustainable Development Goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals. It is essential that Universal Health Coverage is incorporated into this Post 2015 framework, and in a way that ensures that the poorest and most marginalised are reached.
Why is this so crucial for IAPB members and for eye health?
In our work overseas and closer to home, it is immediately evident how common it is for people to face barriers to eye health services whether for financial reasons, physical, sensory barriers or others. Tackling avoidable blindness will not be possible without a significant shift in focus towards equity, inclusiveness, accessibility, responding to need, ensuring that governments take responsibility for progressively realising the right to health.
Further to make progress towards UHC will necessitate better governance, strengthened health systems, improved more sustainable approaches to health financing, essentially a solid basis to integrate comprehensive eye health and promote universal eye health, as called for in the Global Action Plan for Eye Health.
We strongly encourage members to support UHC day and get involved in health networks at national, regional and international level to promote equitable strengthened health systems and within these to advocate for integrated comprehensive approaches to eye health.