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UHC Headlines from Around the Globe

Snakes on a Log Frame: Cobra Effects and Payment by Results

Country: 
India

(Center for Global Development) - Administrators in colonial-era Delhi, the story goes, had a problem. The growing capital city bordered agricultural land, bringing more people into occasionally deadly contact with a subcontinental rogues gallery that included cobras and banded kraits.

The administrators’ novel solution was to give the private sector an incentive to supply a public good: they offered a bounty for dead snakes. Supply did indeed rise to meet demand in response, but not quite in the way they had hoped: local entrepreneurs reacted to the bounty by farming snakes.

Civil servants realized they were running a costly but socially useless snake-farm subsidy program and ended the scheme. That must have seemed like a sensible response to a scheme that wasn’t working as intended. But the farmers, with their urban snake farms now unprofitable, released their stocks into the wild.

How and why India must introduce universal healthcare coverage

Country: 
India

(Times of India) - Healthcare in India is a story of insufficient resources and poor outcomes. Investment is well below WHO guidelines in both qualitative and quantitative terms. Bed density is low (less than 1.5 beds per 1000 persons as compared to WHO guideline of 3.5), doctors few (less than 1.8 per 1000 as compared to WHO guideline of 2.5), and out of pocket spend high (86% as compared to an average of around 40% for low income countries). Rural India lags even further behind, with around 30% of the rural population having to travel over 30km for treatment.

Significant inequality in access is worsened as the existing healthcare workforce is inadequate and under-utilised. With low salaries, insufficient incentives, lack of career growth, inadequate training and inconsistent policies, the majority of the medical workforce chooses not to practice in the formal sector.

WHO and Armenia intensify collaboration towards TB control and universal health coverage

(World Health Organization) - WHO/Europe will work more closely with Armenia in the coming biennium as the country moves to improve control of tuberculosis (TB) and achieve universal health coverage. The decision to increase collaboration was one of the outcomes of a mission to Armenia on 22–24 July 2014 led by Dr Hans Kluge, Director of Health Systems and Public Health Services and Special Representative of the Regional Director to prevent and combat multidrug- and extensively drug-resistant (M/XDR) TB.

Outcome of TB programme review

Dr Kluge presented the preliminary findings of a TB programme review conducted by a team of international experts led by WHO/Europe. These included recommendations for structural changes and financing mechanisms to increase the effectiveness of the programme, as well as achievements and positive changes in the programme since the last review held 3 years ago.

When simple is successful: Gates Foundation on UHC

(Devex) - A recent drive led by the World Health Organization to prioritize universal health coverage within the post-2015 development agenda is gathering support — but one of the world’s largest and most influential donors is yet to be convinced.

Implementing UHC that everyone can afford implies building or strengthening systems, training health workers and ensuring access to medicines — not to mention financing all of those things. Indeed, it is a much broader and more complex task than achieving specific targets, such as reversing the spread of HIV under the current Millennium Development Goals.

This is one of the reasons the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — which has spent some $8 billion on global health programs to date — has still not clarified its position on UHC.

But why?

Saturday Soapbox: It’s time for single-payer insurance

Country: 
Canada

(Yakima Herald Republic) - ‘The Healthcare Movie” documents the decades-long battle in Canada for universal, single-payer health coverage and compares its system with the American system. It’s eye-opening. If you haven’t seen it, you should.

Universal health care is a huge moral issue. Every religious organization should obtain a copy of this movie to initiate an unprecedented dialogue.

Medical bills, even for people with health insurance, are the cause of over 50 percent of bankruptcies in the U.S. About 600,000 Washington residents have no insurance at all. Every Canadian is insured and there are no medical bankruptcies.

In 2017, the Affordable Care Act will allow waivers for any state to pool all Exchange funds and subsidies. There are 20 states preparing for “state innovation” waivers in 2017.

EU gives P1.8B for PH health services

Country: 
The Philippines

(Global Nation) - The European Union has extended a grant of 30-million euros, or around P1.8 billion, to the Philippines to help the government push for initiatives that would improve the health sector, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

The DOH said that under the agreement, 20.5-million euros, or roughly P1.2 billion, would go directly to the National Treasury while the rest of the grant would be used to fund various technical assistance and capacity-building programs to boost its health delivery systems.

“The DOH has continually aspired to strengthen national and local health systems by rationalizing and improving the quality of health services and ensuring better access to these services by Filipinos, especially the poor and the disadvantaged,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona said in a statement.

“The partnership of the Philippines and the EU provides the much needed boost to further the health sector reforms towards the achievement of universal health care for Fi

OPPI Healthcare Summit suggests increasing access to healthcare through policy interventions

Country: 
India

(PharmaBiz) - Models to improve access of medicine to poor and initiation of policy interventions to develop healthcare infrastructure was widely deliberated at the recently concluded Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) Healthcare Summit in Mumbai.

On the occasion, OPPI Healthcare Access Award 2014 was conferred upon founder of Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) Padma Bhushan D R Mehta for enabling 1.4 million handicapped people through Jaipur Foot, which is today hailed as the largest prosthesis provider in over 26 countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. YES Bank knowledge report- Access to Health was also released on the occasion.

Suggestions that government purchase bulk medicine to offer to public at affordable price, create health care delivery infrastructure in rural areas and investment funds for developing life-saving products, vaccines, biosimilars and New Chemical Entities (NCEs) came to the fore during the summit.

Jonathan Inaugurates National Trauma Centre For Ebola Virus

Country: 
Nigeria

(Leadership Nigeria) - President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday inaugurated the first National Trauma Centre in Abuja, with a call on Nigerians to avoid panic and remain alert to check further spread of the Ebola virus in the country.

Inaugurating the centre at the National Hospital, Abuja, the President, who was represented by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, expressed regret that the emergence of the disease in Nigeria was due to migration.

He, therefore, enjoined all Nigerians to take precautionary measures against the disease, saying that the government had put in place measures and facilities for detection and management of the disease.

“It will also be appropriate, at this time, to say a few words about the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, which has taken the lives of many in some West African countries and of which we have recorded two deaths here in Nigeria.

“It is regrettable that the emergence of the disease on our shores was due to migration and transmission.

Leveraging on NHIS technical know-how, key in achieving universal health coverage

Country: 
Nigeria

(Business Day) - As government budgetary allocations at both federal and state levels to fund healthcare appears inadequate, health insurance has remained an alternative source of funding healthcare in the country with potential to secure universal access.

While the Federal Government set up the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) with the aim of ensuring that every Nigerian has access to good health care services, limit the rise in the cost of healthcare services, ensure equitable distribution of healthcare costs among different income groups and ensure high standard of healthcare delivery to Nigerians, the scheme has not taken its roots across the nation.

Following the push by Femi Thomas, executive secretary, NHIS, to ensure that more Nigerians are covered by the rejuvenated scheme in line with achieving 30 percent universal health coverage by 2015, state governments have been urged to key into technical support of NHIS to achieve insurance coverage within the state leve

Tamil Nadu healthcare role model for world: WHO

Country: 
India

(Deccan Herald) - World Health Organisation’s (WHO) representative in India Dr Nata Menabde lauded the efforts of the Tamil Nadu government in providing quality healthcare to all its citizens.

“Tamil Nadu is one of the top performing states by economic indicators, health indicators or by management and health system performance indicators.