Cape Town, South Africa. On Thursday, 19 December 2019, a group of people from various sectors gathered together at the Erin Hall in Rondebosch to celebrate Universal Health Coverage Day.
The theme for this year,“Keep the promise” was not only to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage but also to advocate that everyone, everywhere should have access to quality, affordable health care – as an essential priority!
Alex Daniels, ICPCN’s Education Officer welcomed everyone to the event and highlighted the importance of the day.
Prof Steve Reid, Primary Health Care Directorate for the University of Cape Town highlighted that “Primary healthcare really means health for all”. “It means no one must be left behind.” His illustration around healthcare was that compared to an iceberg. “What we see on the surface are clinical presentations of disease, but what’s under the surface is community experience of health and illness.”
The Unmute Dance Company, led by Andile Wellem displayed a wonderful performance with a strong message of inclusion, diversity and hope which tied very well with the core message of the day: Everyone deserves equal access to healthcare and that nobody should be left behind.
Dr Ewa Skowronska Dr Michelle Meiring
Dr Ewa Skowronska, CEO of the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA) & Dr Michelle Meiring (PatchSA/Paedspal) both touched on the importance of Palliative Care within the healthcare system respectively.
Professor Louis Reynolds
Professor Louis Reynolds of the Peoples Health Movement, addressed key issues of the National Health Insurance Bill. “Access to NHI is limited to registered members.However, becoming a member requires registering at a local health facility. There are assumptions that all health facilities have the capacity to handle this registration process. While this may be true in urban areas and within the private sector, it is not a reality for rural areas that depend on public facilities, said Reynolds.”
To end off the day, Martin Hoybye from the Aarhus University, composed a song with keywords received from the audience during the day which needed to reflect what Universal Health Coverage Day meant to them. The end product/song was well received from the audience!