An estimated 400 million people across the world do not have access to essential basic health services and every year, 100 million of these people fall into poverty as they struggle to pay for healthcare.
Malaria is one of the leading causes of death and morbidity worldwide, imposing an enormous financial burden, not just on individuals and families, but also on economies. In fact, it accounts for up to 40 percent of public health spending in some highly endemic countries. Yet this does not have to be the case - malaria is both preventable and treatable.
Ensuring universal health coverage (UHC) means providing a basic package of health services, in an equitable way, so that healthcare does not cause anyone financial hardship, no matter where in the world they live. For UHC to be achieved, national governments must take ownership and commit to addressing key health issues, ensuring that disease-focused interventions are included in this basic package.
In order to achieve UHC, access to health must be guaranteed for the poorest and most remote communities, greater investment in health must be made at national level, and health systems must be strengthened. Malaria Consortium actively supports the development of UHC by promoting these key components through sustainable and evidence based programmes. With projects in countries across Africa and Asia, we are helping to strengthen health systems by using malaria as an entry point to enhance national efficacy in the fields of surveillance, outbreak response, referral, reporting and market development.
Strengthening health systems from the heart of the community
Malaria Consortium is working to strengthen health systems at the community level, through integrated community case management. This involves training community health workers (CHWs) to diagnose and treat infectious diseases and illnesses, such as malaria, neglected tropical diseases, pneumonia, diarrhoea and acute malnutrition. This is based on evidence that these common illnesses can be safely diagnosed and treated by people within the community, including those with limited or no education and medical training, which in turn helps resolve the critical issue of timely access to effective and affordable services.
This community approach provides a sustainable and effective way to extend health services to the remotest communities. However, there is a global shortage of 7.2 million CHWs worldwide – a figure that is set to rise to 12.9 million by 2035. To mark UHC Day and to highlight this critical issue, Malaria Consortium has released a short animated film about the importance of the community-based health care approach and how we can remedy this health worker shortage.
To learn more about UHC and Malaria Consortium’s approach to promoting UHC around the world, read our short brief here.