Provide quality health services to all: WHO
New Delhi: Calling upon countries in its South-East Asia region to step-up efforts towards universal health coverage, the World Health Organisation (WHO) stressed on providing quality health services to all people when and where they need them, without having to suffer financial hardship.
"Universal health coverage is central to improving health and well-being – a fundamental human right. It is also imperative for a country's well-being as healthier populations create more productive economies," said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia.
Notably, World Health Day is being celebrated on April 7 every year and WHO has set the theme for this year as universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere.
According to a report, nearly half of the WHO South-East Asia Region's population still lacks full coverage of essential health services and significant inequalities still persist. "Poorer people and those in rural areas have lower access than richer people, and those living in urban areas," the WHO has stated in its report.
Singh further stressed on the need for more efforts to increase human resources for health, enhance skills of health workers and aid staff retention in the rural and hard-to-reach area, to ensure quality health services are available for everyone, everywhere.
However, Ayurveda practitioners have opined that people have access to officially recognised alternative systems of health including age-old traditions like Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani.
"Ayurveda can contribute to universal health coverage at multiple levels. It can offer alternatives for the management of diseases where modern medical care is not accessible or affordable," said P Ram Manohar, research director at Amrita Centre for Advanced Research in Ayurveda.
"Ayurveda can reduce the economic burden of long-term care by offering integrative approaches to improve clinical outcomes," Manohar added.