April 7th was World Health Day! First celebrated in 1950, World Health Day marks the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO), which was founded in April 1948. In recent years World Health Day has been celebrated as a global health awareness day. Each year the Day’s awareness campaign focuses on a specific priority health theme, which have recently included mental health, vector-borne diseases, food safety, and protecting health from the adverse effects of climate change. The theme for World Health Day 2019 is “Universal Health Coverage: everyone, everywhere.”

This year’s awareness campaign seeks to educate individuals about universal health care—what it is, why it is important, and what life is like for individuals living without access to health services. The 2019 campaign is an opportunity for stakeholders everywhere to advocate for equal health care access for everyone, everywhere.

Equal access to health care, however, requires more than the physical presence of adequate health services. Those services must also be accessible financially. Health care expenses are one of the major initiators of the so-called poverty ratchet—where a family is pushed deeper into poverty by unforeseen shocks that deprive them of the means to recover. To purchase antibiotics for a sick child, for example, a family may be forced to sell their livestock—one of their few assets and their primary source of income. The family now lacks the very resource they needed to overcome the sudden expense of their child’s healthcare; they become trapped in a worsened state of poverty.

The challenges to universal health care are varied and complex, but a concerted global effort—involving primary care providers all the way up to government decision-makers—can identify and work to resolve those challenges. DevTech Systems, Inc. is proud to contribute to those efforts through our work on the S4SIPMS project, which monitors the quality and effectiveness of PEPFAR-funded sites in Nigeria.

Additional information about the S4SIPMS project can be found here: https://devtechsys.com/projects/Nigeria-Support-for-Strategic/

Additional information about World Health Day 2019 can be found on the WHO website: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/world-health-day-2019