Universal Health Coverage (UHC) – Muhammad Raja

When we talk about UHC we refer to a type of health coverage that ensures all
people can get health services without placing a financial burden on them (WHO,
2015)). There are different UHC packages/programs but all must include an
essential services package of which Maternal Health Care is included (WHO,
2015). Having maternal health under an essential package shows it’s’
importance.
One of the key points on Maternal health as well as women’s health in general is
Inequality, where by a women’s needs are not met on the same level as a males
(MHTF, 2015). It is of utmost importance to realize that women have different
health care needs than men. Gender will play a role in UHC and will affect many
policies. Gender must be factored in to ensure equity amongst all people that are
covered, for example providing access to care at appropriate times. A single
mother having just given birth might have to work odd hour jobs to support
herself and new-born and won’t be able to see a doctor that a UHC package
covers during standard 9-5 working hours. Factors like this need to be taken into
account when formulating policies for UHC.
There will be various positive and negative effects as an outcome of the inclusion
of Maternal Health in UHC programs. By removing the financial stress from
expecting mothers there will be an increase in the amount of women that will
visit doctors during pregnancy. Proper care during pregnancy is rather important
and can be achieved if maternal health coverage is inclusive of pre-natal visits to
the doctor, which will ensure that the expectant mother’s health is not
compromised in any way. A lack of funding can also lead to many women giving
birth at home in less than ideal conditions, many a time without a skilled
attendant and in unsanitary conditions especially in rural areas.
Combine these factors and it’s not difficult to see why 800 women are linked to
childbirth on a daily basis. 99% of the 800 are in developing countries (WHO,
2014) (with less than ideal conditions for birth) which greatly compromises an
expecting mother’s health and can often lead to infection. Of the 99%, 58% give
birth without a skilled attendant (WHO, 2014), which is a form of obstructed
labour.
By providing access to adequate health care, i.e. giving birth in a sanitary and
competent hospital, we can reduce risks related to infection and obstructed
labour. A means of access must also be provided as this is a financial factor as
well. Many women don’t have access to a health care facility due to not being
able to afford transportation, and what good is having the opportunity to see a
doctor but no means of getting there. Providing access will have a direct impact
on the mortality rate of women during pregnancy. A good example of a
government health program in place is that of El Salvador where free access to
health care is provided for expecting mothers (Action For Global Health, 2015).
They have maternal waiting homes where women can go before birth and will
have access to check-ups before giving birth by doctors, as well as providing
them with transport when they go into labour. They would have eliminated a
great amount of stress which is negative in its own, as well as giving them
access to doctors decreasing the chances of pre-birth complications.
1

Also. This will lead to better health care for women. if people know they are getting health care for free or at a much reduced cost they are likelier to exhibit riskier behaviour. which could have detrimental effects on a mother going into labour but is unable to see an available doctor/nurse or get a resource (medication.A fairly big factor that could be a drawback would be that UHC would be subsidised by the government. By providing access to health care that doesn’t cause any financial strain we eliminate many barriers (economic. maternal health can improve greatly post 2015 simply by reducing direct causes of maternal mortality and morbidity e. Gender inequality also needs to be addressed in a way where women’s rights are recognised and women are empowered. unsafe abortions. obstructed labour etc. knowing that they will be taken care of. 2 .) due to a shortage and supply not meeting the increased demand. which may be befitted by not empowering women and not promoting equality. With free health care comes a quantative increase in patients which leads to longer waiting times and a lot of resources being used at any given time. Corrupt policy makers will push for agendas that favour their political position. Ultimately. Another potential negative factor is corruption. Infection. This in turn could mean that more focus is put on men’s health and women’s health being neglected. This could be a great disadvantage to women living in countries that do not view women as equally as men. even for expecting mothers. social) that would otherwise prevent pregnant mothers from seeking necessary health care in order for a safe pregnancy and childbirth. equipment etc. We do however need to be mindful in how implementing UHC may affect other aspects of life which could ultimately prove to be negative. We could see an increase in unprotected sex which in the case of HIV and pregnancy could mean transmission of the virus between mother and child. who might in turn become pregnant.g. We also have to take into consideration how this will affect HCP’s.

HCP’s could use this information to improve factors that would in turn improve access to essential medicines (drugs). which is the case when formulating policies for example. supply and demand. rational drug use etc. It is important to have a group that’s focus is on maternal health on its own. It would be important to support this group and the movement in order to address the growing issue of womens health and it being benefitted by improving primary health care.Muhammad Raja The goal of this organisation is to provide Healthcare information to all those that require it. This information might be the only information available in countries that don’t have access to adequate information. This is not unfamiliar to the pharmacy profession where many drug companies provide information that might be misrepresented. 2015). Part of their mission statements reads “…every health worker will have access to information needed to protect their own health and health of those they’re responsible for” (HIFA. It is the duty of future HCP’s to provide the 3 . This information also needs to be unbiased which is another goal of HIFA. by getting action out of policies that will have an effect on maternal and child mortality rates as well as supporting the MDG’s and health education (RMCH. If one had access to this organisation it would serve as a messenger to promote discussions in various essential drug topics. HIFA – Healthcare Information For All . This will ensure maternal and child health is not overlooked by policies. As future Health Care Professionals (HCP) we need to be able to have access to this information in order to make the correct informed decisions. 2015). Minimal information was available but it would seem that they supported discussions relating to legislation. RMCH Program The Reducing Maternal and Child Mortality in South Africa program is a program that has its focus on improving primary health care via policies set by the nDOH. HCP’s need to be able to make decisions based on facts rather than prejudiced interpretations. as well as being aimed towards HCP’s In developing countries.E-DRUG – Muhammad Raja Essentialdrugs supports the communication between HCP’s in regard to essential drugs. hence the use of email communication for its simplicity.

Muhammad Raja BRICS is a network of people that are involved in medicines access and wise use. FIP – International Pharmaceutical Federation Muhammad Raja The FIP is the leading organisation when it comes to representing the pharmaceutical profession (FIP. access to medicines. discussions etc. HCP’s will be able to broaden their understanding of medicines and use of medicines and as a result will be able to improve many medicine related areas eg. promotion etc. It is a peer-to-peer network that enables collaboration on various priority objectives and themes (BRICS . It is therefore of utmost importance for HCP’s to join HIFA. As a HCP we need to be able to work with other HCP’s and people involved in medicines in order to identify problems and find innovative solutions. It enables HCP’s to contribute solutions and thoughts to various medicine related themes such as access. Young pharmacists can get grants for projects that can improve the health of a community. It would be wise to join BRICS in order to contribute solutions and gain advice as well as to discuss medicine related issues and gain insight from others. They work together with organisations such as WHO and UN in order to promote and develop the profession (FIP. They have meetings as well as workshops and conferences that we should aspire to attend in order to promote development. Any persons in the pharmacy profession should join FIP in order for support and to help advance health care as a result of advancing pharmacy. FIP would like to be an important part of global health care decisions and actions. 2015). 2015). which would be a representation on the profession as well as individuals within FIP. We should be a part of a group that is focussed on going forward and implementing progressive change for health care. which is what we should be striving towards. By joining BRICS we are presented with such an opportunity. and this can help improve our knowledge as well as communicate problems and solutions with others in the pharmaceutical field. All this with the ultimate goal of advancing the profession in order to improve global health.correct information to patients and act on correct info. Members are presented with access to many resources such as publications. Policy formations. As a young pharmacist that joins FIP you can join Young Pharmacists Group (YPG). which is aimed at pharmacists under 35 or that have recently graduated. use etc. and the only way to do that is to have access to this information. 2012). in their own community and country. As pharmacists we need to contribute our knowledge on medicines in order to generate solutions to problems and promote the correct use of medicines which is a goal of BRICS. 4 . BRICS – Brazil Russia India China South Africa Medicines Alliance . a part of FIP.

low income (Kenya). Malaysia (middle income)has also experiences gender inequality. We see poverty being caused more by other a few exceptions.Post 2015 SDG Relating to women’s health Muhammad Raja Throughout the next few pages we will look at the Post 2015 SDG’s that could have an impact on women’s health and how it would affect a least developed country (Mozambique). with point of the first 2 countries. 2015) . but not to the Switzerland (High Income) not had a history of being a poor country. However. women are trapped in poverty due to this (Rural Poverty Portal . 74% of women aregender inequality. involved in paid work many women do not earn as much as men and are not presented with the same opportunities in the work force 5 . which leads to inadequate health care In Kenya (Low Income) women have a higher poverty rate due to the gender gap present in education . Middle income (Malaysia) and High income (Switzerland) country Eradicate all forms of poverty low/no access to adequate health care due to financial constraints In Mozambique (Least Developed) gender inequality is present and high. along with its high cost and of living. Being unemployed in Switzerland would be one of the only factors as poor wealth distribution low wages rather than causes of such poverty.

again calling on the need for IMPROV nutritional education which will lead to women (and men) making better Switzerland does not suffer from noticeable under nutrition. Socio-economic changes have unfortunately led to unhealthy diets due to changes in lifestyles. with focus on women’s dietary needs. amd is mainly caused by poverty. Malaysia will have to focus on promoting a better diet. EDUCA TI e impact n Poor h ON Better on nutritional essent nutrion pregnan al knowledge ial cy and choices 6 expectin Improv g ed Health .g. therefore placing emphasis not only on the need to improve general nutrition but also on the special nutritional needs of Kenya battles with both under nutrition and over nutrition. more than having to improve access to more nutritious food. leading to unfavourable health conditions. Iron deficiencies in lactating mothers causing anaemia. especially those that will be beneficial during pregnancy. Vit A deficiencies causing night blindness etc. Negativ Nutritio ONAL ty enoug such as cardiovascular problems.Main cause of poverty in all except Switzerland Gender Inequality Poverty Unable to afford proper health care High Income Country Equal Job Opportunities and high employment rate Decreased amount of poverty End Hunger and Improve nutrition Improv es Health In Mozambique malnutrition is a great cause of many deficiencies and problems. Their main E dietary choices which will reduce their risk of NCD’s. Nutritional information and education is accessible via websites dedicated to Malaysian Nutrition (insert). Women have special nutritional needs during pregnancy e. Bad NUTRITI Pover Notleading to secondary illnesses problem is obesity and eating the wrong food. More prioritization is needed to combat malnutrition. Nutrition in Malaysia has come a long way and the country has seen dramatic changes in the way it looks at nutrition. 25% of women of the reproductive age (15-49) are overweight or obese calling on a need to improve the nutritional status of women by educating them on nutritious foods.

Narrow gender gap health improve overall access Improve Gender equality in Malaysia is sliding. Women are also subject to more violence than men and are not presented the same opportunities in decision making as men.Improv e access to Ensure gender equality In Mozambique gender inequality health conditions poverty Bad Women need to be allowed to engage more in order to allow them to learn important skills which will allow them to escape poverty and improve their health Women in kenya are not given enough rights due to traditional views of womens roles in society. Women are paid slightly less than men and hold less stable jobs. Women in Switzerland would have similar access to health care as men do. Women do not hold many high position’s in the workforce preventing them from accessing the same resources as men. financial stability Constant access to health care 7 . therefore hindering their progress in society and preventing their access to health care Switzerland ranks 11th in the world in regards to Gender Equality.

We 8 .