Adopted by the United Nations, universal health coverage has been included in the new Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030.  The day was adopted by the United Nations and aims to raise awareness of the need for resilient and accessible health systems for all. On December 12 of each year, the United Nations advocates for voices to share the stories of millions of people who are still trying to gain access to health.

The theme for International Universal Health Coverage Day 2022 is “Build the World We Want: A Healthy Future for All,” which aims to build and expand stronger health systems focused on quality, a healthy environment, trust, investment and accountability.

The right to health

There can be no dignity, freedom and justice without health for all. The right to health is about ensuring that everyone, everywhere can access affordable, quality healthcare. Everyone is entitled to the right to health regardless of race, colour, sex, language, gender, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, geographical location, religion, political or other opinions, nationality or social origin, property, socioeconomic or other status.

The right to health means ending discrimination in all settings. This means supporting national and local authorities in addressing racial and tribal discrimination and related health inequities. This work includes integrating human rights, equity, gender-responsive and intercultural approaches to guide public health policies and ensure that communities experiencing racial discrimination have access to comprehensive, culturally appropriate and quality health services.

The right to health means leaving no one behind. This means everyone must have access to health services without discrimination.

The move towards Universal Health Coverage in Cameroon

Progress towards UHC is an inherently political process that entails many health policy reforms and restructuring of the health financing architecture. The government of Cameroon initiated a process to provide the country with a fully operational Universal Health Coverage scheme by 2035[1]. To achieve this goal, an intersectoral National Technical Group dubbed UHC – TWG, co-chaired by the Minister of Public Health and the Minister of Labor and Social Security, was created in 2015 to pilot the process and make proposals to the government on different aspects of this scheme[2]

The implementation of the UHC system is an entirely new experience for Cameroon. It will be beneficial to learn from the experience of peer countries that are relatively more advanced in developing their UHC systems. Strong governance is needed to define coherent policy objectives, facilitate dialogue and stakeholder consultations, monitor and evaluate UHC progress, and align strategic purchasing reforms with other health financing reforms.

[1] Strategic Health Purchasing in Cameroon. Multiple Fragmented Schemes and Opportunities For Alignment in the Universal Health Coverage Context.
[2] Ministry of Health. Proposal for a universal health coverage system architecture in Cameroon. 2016. National technical working group for UHC, Yaoundé, Cameroon.