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UHC Headlines from Around the Globe

Thailand as a global leader in health


(The Bangkok Post) - Every year, around this week each May, thousands of country delegates and health experts convene at the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) World Health Assembly in Geneva.

Among these global health experts, Thailand holds special status. Though not a large country, nor a particularly wealthy country, when it comes to providing care for its citizens Thailand is both global eader and role model for neighbouring Asean countries attempting to expand universal health coverage (UHC). Looking back at Thailand’s health reform history, a set of key lessons can be drawn.

Four decades ago, Thailand chose to invest wisely in health when it was still a low income country. It prioritised developing human resources such as medical doctors and particularly, nurses and community health workers. In the 1980s, it bucked a global trend to build new, shiny hospitals, focusing instead on increasing the number of rural primary facilities.

S Korea extends support to draft health insurance policy

South Korea

(The Himalayan Times) - The South Korean government has extended a support of USD 4.5 million to the Government of Nepal for draft of a health insurance policy.

Finance Secretary Yuba Raj Bhusal and the Korean Ambassador to Nepal Choe Yong-jin signed an agreement to that end today.

The project aims to contribute to achieving universal health coverage through providing technical support for the preparation of the National Health Insurance Scheme as well as support in enhancing the capacity of relevant stakeholders in health insurance sector, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) said in a statement today.

Bahrain participates in Government Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers Forum


(Bahrain News Agency) – The Kingdom of Bahrain participated in the Government Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers Forum on 5-17 May 2014, at the invitation of the World Health Organization, with the participation of more than 52 countries and a number of international organizations involved in health and nursing, and also took part in the nursing leadership meetings on 16-17 November 2014.

Head of Nursing of the Primary Care and Public Health, Nahid Al-Awadhi, represented Bahrain in the event.

The Forum, which was held under the theme "nursing and midwifery workforce and universal health coverage," focused on health leadership effectiveness of nursing workforce and readiness in work environment, and discussed nursing and midwifery with the consideration for the universal health coverage.

Community Health Insurance: Our focus is on the vulnerable —Thomas


(Nigerian Tribune) - The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has 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.

This followed the recent official inauguration of the Community Based Social Health Insurance Scheme, promoted by the Emoriko Mutual Health Association in Emoriko, Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi State.

In his speech at the ceremony, the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Dr ‘Femi Thomas, emphasised that the scheme was working assiduously to address the health seeking challenges of the vulnerable groups in the society, which are those who do not have the financial ability to contribute to any pre-payment plans.

He noted that “Nigeria has a very huge informal sector,” as over 70 per cent of the nation’s population is caught in this bracket, which according to him, necessitated the recent convening of a presidential summit on universal health cove

Fix WSIB to Protect All Workers - CUPE Ontario President


(Insurance News Net) - The Canadian Union of Public Employees issued the following news release:

Politicians from all parties must stop anti-worker changes at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and commit to universal coverage to protect all workers in the province, CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn said at a rally Friday.

"WSIB has proposed policy changes that are all designed to reduce or deny benefits to injured workers," he said.

National News: Doctors Demand Special Number Plates, Security Details -National Mirror


(National Mirror) - The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, yesterday demanded that government allow its members, nationwide, to have special number plates carrying ‘doctor’ on their vehicles.

Newly-elected President of the association, Lawrence Obembe, made the request in Abuja while presenting his administration’s roadmap at a media briefing.

Obembe, whose administration’s objectives revolve around the need for the country to attain universal health coverage, argued that special number plates for doctors was necessary given various road accidents which called for urgent attention of medical professionals.

He said the group had called for a Medical Rescue Squad about a decade ago, which entails government providing ambulances for NMA in the states so that doctors could promptly move to wherever there is an emergency.

“The doctors can even draw roaster and quickly know that we are the one on duty to take care of these emergencies.

“For example, if there is an emergency

Health workers union raises alarm over Ebola virus


(WorldStage Newsonline) - Following the death of two health workers in Liberia as a result of exposure to the deadly Ebola virus, the West African Health Sector Union’s Network (WAHSUN) has raised concern over the occupation hazard faced by the health workers.

The Union has advised all governments and employers in the region to formulate and implement requisite policies and intensify education on occupational health and safety at all levels in the health sector.

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.