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UHC Headlines from Around the Globe

Healthcare to undergo serious surgery in tough Australian budget


(MSN Money) - ANBERRA, May 13 (Reuters) - Healthcare in Australia is set for its biggest shake-up since the introduction of universal coverage in the 1970s, as part of a tough federal budget on Tuesday that critics fret is taking the country towards a U.S.-style system.

An audit of the Australian economy released last month recommended broad structural changes and a tight rein on costs to stem what the government warns is a looming "fiscal crisis" as the country's decade-long mining boom slows.

But of the sectors examined by the National Commission of Audit it was healthcare, which accounted for 8.9 per cent of GDP in 2010-2011 according to OECD figures, that was singled out as the country's most serious long-term fiscal challenge.

In support of that position, the audit recommended an A$15 ($14) fee for doctors' visits and proposed a U.S.-style healthcare model in which all Australians would be required to buy private health insurance, with lower wage earners receiving a sub

Fixing India’s healthcare system


(Livemint) - Life expectancy in India has more than doubled since independence, to 65 years, from just 32 in 1950. The infant mortality rate has been cut by two-thirds since 1971. Smallpox and guinea worm have been eradicated, the spread of HIV/AIDS has been contained, and the World Health Organization has declared India polio-free.

Yet for all of that, India’s healthcare system in many respects is on life support. The country trails behind sub-Saharan Africa, Bangladesh and Nepal on numerous health fronts, despite higher per-capita income and two decades of spectacular economic growth. Inequities in the availability and outcome of care abound, determined in large part by gender, socioeconomic status and geographical location.

Sustainably Financing Universal Health Coverage: What To Cover and How to Pay for It

(Global Health Governance) - The global support for universal health coverage (UHC) is wide-ranging. But on top of the potentially troubling role of domestic and global politics that has been previously examined, another large issue in implementing UHC is how to sustainably finance it.

The WHO’s goal in enacting UHC is to ensure that every individual around the world is able to receive quality healthcare without fear of financial catastrophe. But every country is different, and the path for each to reach their health coverage goals has to be homegrown—that is, the steps to achieving UHC have to be tailored to each particular country. But at the same time, it is important that each country’s health system can not make open-ended commitments to cover every health issue. The system has to set priorities, and there also has to be recognition and understanding of ways to effectively spend on UHC.

Panel Discussion on Advancing Universal Health Coverage in India


(UN in India) - Echoing the increasing attention given to enhancing access to health services while reducing financial hardship caused by out of pocket spending on health in the country, a panel discussion supported by the United Nations in India deliberated on India’s route to Universal Health Coverage.

The discussion brought out key issues related to the concept and process of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and lessons to be learnt from countries in different regions of the world.

Speaking on the occasion, Professor Indrani Gupta, Institute of Economic Growth said, “The disease burden, infrastructural and personnel requirements and health financing situation are the three elements that need to be analyzed to plan the design of the UHC model(s) to be rolled out in India.”

“The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has already suggested a list of indicators for an essential health package which need to be taken into consideration.

Lifting Health Burden Of The Rural Poor


(Leadership Times) - Providing cover for the vast majority of Nigerians who live in the rural areas is crucial to attaining the universal health coverage, at least by 30 per cent in 2015. WINIFRED OGBEBO who was at the flag-off of the Community Based Health Insurance Scheme (CBSHIP) at Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi State writes on this and the benefits to the people.

Finally, there seems to be a ray of hope for the poor and the vulnerable in Nigeria’s rural communities as far as health care services are concerned. An estimated 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population who live in the rural areas are said to have higher disease burden, lower income, and are in most need of protection.

Last week, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) recorded another milestone in its renewed efforts at providing health cover and financial risk protection for a vast majority of people in the rural communities.

The UNFPA representative, Ms.

Thousands left in healthcare limbo


(The Bangkok Post) - Almost 100,000 people whose universal healthcare membership was revoked in December due to citizenship problems are still struggling to get their coverage back.

The issue was raised at a recent monthly meeting of the National Health Security Board (NHSB). The meeting was joined by members of the public and representatives of the Public Health Ministry and National Health Security Office (NHSO).

In December, the NHSO said it removed more than 95,000 people with what it labelled "dubious citizenship" from its 30-baht universal coverage (UC) healthcare scheme. The NHSO said these people were disqualified because they are not Thai citizens. The group includes Thai-born Chinese residents who lack the documentation to prove their family histories or apply for citizenship.

Before that, they had been able to use the healthcare scheme. Some only found out that their coverage had been revoked when they were turned away from hospitals.

Co-payment would deter doctor visits: poll


(Brisbane Times) - A federal government move to charge an extra $6 for visiting a bulk-billing doctor would deter almost four in 10 people from booking an appointment, according to the latest budget poll.

The likely introduction of the co-payment would spark a strong voter reaction to a policy being seen as undermining universal health coverage, the Fairfax-ReachTEL survey found.

Around half the 3241 people who took part said they also want Prime Minister Tony Abbott to make further cuts to his parental leave scheme.

The finding comes despite Mr Abbott cutting payments from a previous cap of $75,000 for mothers earning $150,000 a year to $50,000.

The poll also found 68 per cent of voters are against a proposed increase to the retirement age, although a deficit tax attracted support from 54 per cent.

The poll's co-payments finding was based on respondents being asked how they would react to a $6 payment for GP visits, with 39 per cent saying they would be less likely to

Nigeria: Ogun Commences Free Health Care for Pregnant Women, Others


(All Africa) - Ogun State Government has launched free health care service in a scheme designed to provide financial protection against all ailments for pregnant women, children under-five years and the aged above 70 years in the state. The event tagged 1st phase of Community Health Insurance Scheme (ARAYA) and 2nd phase of Conditional cash Transfer (GBOMORO) was formally started by the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun in Abeokuta, the state capital. He noted that the scheme was designed to provide financial protection against all causes of illness and improving access to quality health services for those who are excluded from the formal insurance.

Launching the programme, Amosun said the project was in fulfillment of his administration's campaign promise and resolve to focus on health in the 2014 budget by devoting substantial part of the budget to health.

World Cup expected to boost Kalbe Farma’s sales this year


(The Jakarta Post) - Pharmaceutical giant PT Kalbe Farma (KLBF) says that it is upbeat about business in 2014 as it expects World Cup-related events and the government-backed universal health coverage program to drive up sales.

The company’s consumer health division will be largely influenced by the world’s largest sports event, as people will seek stamina boosters to keep up with the matches, according to Kalbe corporate secretary Vidjongtius.

The consumer health division offers products such as energy drinks Extra Joss and Fatigon Hydro, as well as multivitamin Sakatonik.

“A special event like this [the World Cup] has always been positive for sales of our products,” Vidjongtius said.

Supported by the World Cup hype, Kalbe Farma estimates that the sales of its consumer health products will be 20 to 25 percent higher in 2014 compared to 2013.

Last year, the consumer health division recorded Rp 2.5 trillion (US$216.2 million) in sales, a 16.6 percent increase from a year

Universal health coverage: A solution for Namibia?


(New Era) - The Namibian Government recognizes health and social well being as a fundamental human right.

The Report of the Presidential Commission of Enquiry on the Health Sector states that given this fact, “the goal of Government is the attainment of a level of health and social well-being by all Namibians, which will enable them to lead economically and socially productive lives.”

This echoes the World Health Organization (WHO) constitution and the ‘Health for All’ agenda set by the 1978 Alma Ata Declaration which holds that “health is a fundamental human right and that the attainment of the highest possible level of health is a most important world-wide social goal.”

In accordance with the above, the Namibian Government has since independence prioritized the improvement of health provision to its citizens.