The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that there is an urgent need to strengthen reforms on universal healthcare coverage so that every person has access to quality health care.
A common approach that instructors use in schools is to engage students with current affairs. Not only does this approach work well with regular teaching methods, but also it is a perfect way for students to relate with the world outside the classroom. That way, students can become all-rounded individuals and helpful members of society. Have a look at this; the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world in a great way. While COVID-19 affects many aspects of life, the aspect that has been hit the hardest is the medical field and universal healthcare coverage.
Students in the medical field; nursing students, medical students, and pharmacy students are most likely to tackle assignments on COVID-19 and its effect on health systems as it touches their field of interest. Here is a sample article on ‘The Case for Universal Healthcare Coverage after the COVID-19 Pandemic’ that a student would need to present to their instructor:
What is universal health coverage?
Universal healthcare coverage refers to a situation where individuals in the community access quality health services without financial challenges. It encompasses the entire process of health services provision from prevention, treatment, and palliative care. Universal health coverage sees that every person can access quality healthcare services without necessarily paying for it. In so doing, individuals do not have to be pushed to poverty because illnesses drain them financially. When nations were adopting sustainable development goals in 2015, achieving universal health coverage was one of the key targets. It is worth noting that countries that continuously make progress with universal health coverage experience progress in other aspects of the nation. Currently, 32 countries in the world offer universal health coverage.
What does universal healthcare coverage entail?
Besides looking into the services that are covered, the other components of universal healthcare coverage are funding, management, and delivery of health care services. There must be a shift in health care service delivery if health care services are to meet the needs of the community. Therefore, that will call for reorienting the health services to see services are offered in the right setting and with a balance between in-patient and put-patient care. There are three pillars of universal health coverage, namely, governance, health financing, and service delivery. All these three pillars are key in creating an environment to measure and achieve universal health coverage.
Primary health care
Primary health care is a cost-effective and efficient way to achieve universal healthcare coverage. This health approach addresses the physical, social, and mental needs of individuals and the community at large. It goes beyond treating certain diseases and seeks to meet health needs for a person throughout their life. Thus, more health workers are needed if nations of the world are to accomplish universal healthcare. The gap in supply and demand of health workers is more pronounced in low and middle-income countries.
Categorization of universal healthcare coverage
WHO has categorized health services in 4 categories as a measure of equity in health care coverage and the level of health care in a country. These categories are as follows:
- Adequate sanitation
- Tuberculosis treatment
- Use of treated bed nets to prevent malaria
- Hepatitis treatment
Reproductive, maternal and child health
- Family planning
- delivery and antenatal care
- Child immunization
Service capacity and access
- Health worker density
- Hospital access
- Access to medication
- Compliance with international health regulations
- Cervical cancer screening
- Prevention and treatment of raised blood glucose and blood pressure
Every country is unique is the manner in which they address health issues. Some issues focus on some areas than others. A country can also come up with a way to measure their progress towards achieving universal health coverage.
Universal healthcare coverage plans
There are three common universal healthcare models that countries can adopt. These plans are mandatory insurance, single-payer, and national health insurance. Countries can adopt one model or combine models with other health care systems to introduce competition. Here is a look into the models:
In this system, the government gives its citizens free healthcare services. The healthcare costs are obtained from the income taxes revenue. As a result, health care services are owned by the government, and the health care service providers are government employees. All citizens have equal access to health care services. Countries that have adopted this system include Spain, Cuba, and New Zealand.
Social health insurance model
In this system, the government requires every citizen to buy health insurance. Often citizens buy insurance through their employees. Usually, the revenue from the taxes goes into a health insurance fund that is run by the government. The health insurance fund covers every tax-paying individual. The private hospitals provide health care services through their employees. In this system, the government is in control of the prices of health insurance. Countries that have embraced this model include Japan, Switzerland, and France.
National health insurance
This model utilizes public insurance to cater for private-practice care. It is, therefore, a requirement for every citizen to make regular payments to the national insurance plan. Usually, there is one insurance company involved, and that lowers administrative costs. As a result, the government has a lot of power to cut down on medical costs. Some of the countries that use this universal health coverage model include India, South Korea, Taiwan, Kenya, and Canada.
Benefits of universal health coverage
Universal health coverage offers numerous benefits which include:
Low health care costs
With universal health coverage, the government regulates the cost of obtaining health care services. That includes the cost of medical supplies, consultation services, and treatment services.
Lower administrative costs
When a country offers social health insurance coverage, the medical professionals deal with a single government agency. As a result, the overall administration cost will go down.
There is proof that preventative care minimizes the need for emergency room issues. When people can hardly access preventative care, they end up using emergency room care as their primary care. In the end, that inequality causes a surge in medical care costs.
Measuring universal health coverage
The monitoring of the progress towards achieving universal healthcare coverage focuses on two main elements.
- The portion of the population that has access to quality health care services
- The percentage of the population that uses a large portion of their income in getting health care services.
WHO in collaboration with the World Bank, have come up with a framework that is useful in tracking the progress of universal health coverage. The set framework monitors the overall level of universal health coverage and the equitability of universal health coverage.
The role of WHO in achieving universal health coverage
1948 WHO constitution declares that health is a fundamental right for every human being. Therefore, WHO focuses on ensuring the highest level of health care for every human being. Also, WHO supports countries in developing their health systems which aim in making progress towards achieving and sustaining universal healthcare coverage. Not only that, WHO collaborates with multiple partners for different situations to meet different purposes in nations of the world. WHO’s partnerships include Primary Health-Care Performance Initiative, P4H Social Health Protection Network, UHC 2030, European Union-Luxembourg-WHO Partnership for UHC, Primary Health-Care Performance Initiative, and Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research.
All nations can make moves to improve health outcomes in the nation and eliminate poverty in the nation. Increasing coverage for universal healthcare services reduces the impoverishment that comes as a result of making payment for health care services.
Health systems and COVID-19 pandemic
The recent times we live in are proving to be difficult due to the effect of COVID-19. The effects of this disease affect livelihoods, the wellbeing of people, economies, and health systems. As if that is not enough, there is anticipation that the situation will get worse in the near future before things can get better. Universal health coverage, in particular, is impacted greatly by the occurrence of this disease. The difference towards positive lives in regards to COVID-19 that everyone expects is only possible through universal health coverage and quality health systems. These two factors will determine whether citizens will access treatment, the rate of recovery among patients, and the protection given to health workers.
Universal health care coverage and COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic focuses on two major things. First, that everyone should access free testing regardless of where they live and their financial strength. Second, strong health systems are critical for a nation’s response due to a health crisis. The pandemic has come to show that governments of nations in the world have a primary role in protecting the health of their citizens. Health services are essential so that all groups of society can access quality health care services.
Better health care reforms
It is noticeable that countries with effective universal healthcare coverage such as Singapore and South Korea are handling the pandemic better. As a result, nations should embrace reforms in the health care sector to see that all people can access and afford quality care. Strengthening primary health care is also important to enhance the already established efforts on early detection of diseases, prevention, and health education. It will be necessary to handle this pandemic in the long term as there will be an administration of treatments and vaccines in the future.
Health emergencies and Universal health coverage
It is no surprise that not all countries have strong economies and health systems to cope with a health crisis. Covid-19 has revealed the unpreparedness of nations to handle a pandemic. Moreover , it is evident that countries with limited health care services and weak health systems are having a hard time coping with this pandemic. The most vulnerable members of the society, the oldest, and the financially challenged people are the ones who will suffer the most in the face of this pandemic. It is therefore important for leaders to promote a strong health system that will make progress towards managing this health crisis and towards universal health coverage.
Necessary actions for this health crisis
It is important that nation leaders see the connection between universal health coverage and health emergencies in the face of this pandemic. Overall, leaders should endeavor to stand by the universal health coverage commitments that they claim to commit. In whatever action that leaders want to take, they should consider the key tasks of universal health coverage. Here is a look into what the leaders can do during this time of COVID-19 pandemic:
Make sure that the responses are gender-equitable
Often during times of crisis, the rights and needs of girls and women are often neglected by the leaders and society at large. Data shows that there are more deaths in men than in women due to COVID-19 disease. Nations should thus give sex-disaggregated data on the number of tests taken, confirmed cases, and deaths due to COVID-19. In every step and measure, the leaders should be gender-sensitive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that health is a top concern for everyone. Nations must come together to form a community for coherent action. In whatever level of union nations meet, it is essential that they ensure public trust and social solidarity. Governments should engage all members of society in their responses to COVID-19.
Make better investments
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that there is a need to improve domestic investment in health. However, the investment into the health system is possible via public financing with the inclusion of social insurance contributions. Hence, nations should minimize their reliance on out-of-pocket payments. There should be harmonization of these efforts in countries that depend on external financial support to lower fragmentation. Lastly, governments should also invest in innovation in the health sector. In so doing, nations will be more prepared to handle a health crisis.
Improve the quality of health care services
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a strain on health care services and systems. Governments should seek to protect the health care workers as they are at the forefront of dealing with this pandemic. Essential medical services, medical equipment, and medical services should be available. Also, there should be guidance on the context and referral to see that the nations meet the urgent health needs for their citizens and protect their health workers as well.
Regulations in legislation
Handling a health crisis successfully calls for leaders to take bold emergency measures. That would mean introducing regulatory measures to protect the safety of a patient. Also, these measures should enable the implementation of urgent and innovative health solutions.
Leaders should seek to eliminate all barriers that may stand in their way when handling this health crisis. Nobody should experience barriers; financial, cultural, and geographical when attempting to get access to information, tested, or treatment for COVID-19. In addition, there should be safety nets to see that people can afford to stay in isolation and minimize the further spread of this disease.
Proper political leadership
In as much as COVID-19 has affected the health systems, leaders should take measures to ensure that their political leadership does not stand in the way of handling this pandemic. In all levels of leadership, the leaders should make bold and responsible political decisions. Quick response and health crisis preparedness are the responsibility of a government.
COVID-19 in the USA
In regards to COVID-19 pandemic, the USA is not any different than other nations in the world. COVID-19 has disrupted normal lives in the USA like any other country. A recent poll in the USA revealed shocking universal healthcare statistics which are as follows: approximately 15 percent of the people would not go for treatment if hey exhibited COVID-19 symptoms. Also, about 10 percent of Americans would not get treatment if they were infected with Coronavirus. The reason for these shocking statistics is the high cost of medical care in the USA. With better universal health coverage in the US, the nation will make significant changes towards dealing with this pandemic.
Universal healthcare coverage is the solution to cope with COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the nations of the world in unprecedented ways. There is need to urgent response to the crisis to mitigate its impact. As the pandemic continues to put health systems to test, nations should consider taking meaningful considerations. Unlike any other pandemic that has been in the past, there is an urgent need to accelerate nations’ efforts to build strong and reliable health systems and accomplish universal health coverage.
While medical researchers around the globe are looking for a cure for this disease, governments are busy putting up measures to contain this pandemic. Most schools are running online classes, and that means that learning is undisrupted. It is not unusual that you will need to submit your assignments to your instructors. When tasked with an assignment on any nursing subject, you can always seek help from UKessays, the leading homework help site. Kessays has writers who are dedicated to providing quality and timely work to their clients, even in this pandemic. You can check through their website Kessays.com for samples they have tackled in the past and reviews from previous and returning clients.