Social Justice cannot be attained if the health needs of people are denied due to financial challenges.
Social Justice is a paramount pillar that ensures a harmonious and peaceful society. Social Justice is upheld when societies promote gender equality and the rights of indigenous people.
Over the years, the world has been working to ensure that all people; regardless of their background (religion, age, race, etc) are able to access promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health care of sufficient quality to be effective without any financial challenge. The fight towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), if achieved, will be a major stride in closing the inequalities gap in health to achieve Social Justice. A fight worth supporting and pushing forward.
UHC will ensure equity in access to health services. Which means that everyone who needs health services will get them and health will not be the purview of the rich only. UHC will ensure quality of health services which will improve the health of those receiving it; and affordability of health services. UHC will ensure better health and protect the poor; thereby bridging the inequality gap in health and ensuring Social Justice.
UHC will also promote better and strengthened health systems which will ensure good health; an essential condition for sustained economic and social development as well as poverty reduction. If members of a society are in good health, they are then able to work and derive substantial income to survive on. A society that is not healthy is plunged in adverse poverty and exposed to all manner of injustice and inequality.
According to a joint WHO/ World Bank Group report, at least 400 million people do not have access to one or more essential health services and 6% of people in low-and middle-income countries are pushed further into extreme poverty due to health spending.
Efforts should be made to ensure that health care is affordable by all; there exist the availability and capacity of health workers who can deliver quality people-centered and integrated care to all people. Investments should be made in healthcare workers which is a sure way to enhance a cost-effective way to access essential health care.
Policy or decision makers should ensure good governance, sound systems of procurement and supply of medicines and integrated health technologies to help attain UHC.
On this day as we commemorate World Day of Social Justice, let’s remind ourselves that barriers to healthcare are an injustice to societies that need to be removed!