‘More urgent than ever’: UN Chief stresses on need for health coverage amid COVID-19
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on October 7 said that the novel coronavirus pandemic has underlined the importance of strong public health systems and preparedness at a global level, which calls for greater investments in universal health coverage. He urged everyone to draw “hard lessons” from the pandemic. While launching his latest policy brief, he said, one of those lessons, “is that under-investment in health can have a devastating impact on societies and economies”.
Need for health coverage
Guterres emphasized on how a huge gap in health coverage is one of the major reasons for the suffering caused by the pandemic. He further added that the public health programmes should be easily available to all without any financial barriers. He said, “COVID-19 has shown that universal health coverage, strong public health systems and emergency preparedness are essential to communities, to economies, to everyone”.
The COVID-19 pandemic which saw its first outbreak in a wet market in Wuhan, China last year has now spread all across the world. The virus, named COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation, has infected 36,776,105 people worldwide with the global death toll reaching at 1,067,185. As per the John Hopkins coronavirus resource centre, the United States has reported a total of at least 7,833,763 virus cases and has a death toll of 217,738. The US currently has the highest number of reported cases in the world, making it the epicentre of the deadly virus. Gutteres highlighted how universal health coverage requires governments to increase investments in common goods. This will include surveillance and risk communication. He said, “Health treatment should not depend on financial status”.