Secretary-General's Message on Universal Health Coverage Day (12 December 2015)

            Our best defences against any health emergency are strong and resilient health systems that serve all people without exposing them to financial hardship.

            The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by world leaders in September, envisages universal health coverage and other important measures to ensure that children live into adulthood, mothers survive childbirth and countries strengthen their response to infectious and non-communicable diseases.

            To galvanize action on health, in September I also launched the Global Strategy for Women’s Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. Our aim, together with the Every Woman Every Child movement, is to end preventable deaths among these groups and secure their well-being by helping countries to provide quality and affordable health care to all.

            Today, at least 400 million people lack access to essential health services. Every year, health care costs plunge millions of people into poverty – or keep them trapped there. That is why I call on all countries to ensure that every person can access essential and affordable health services.

            We are starting to see progress across the world as countries advance on the road towards health systems that cover all people.

            There is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving universal health coverage. Every solution will be unique to the context.

            In all cases, success demands substantial investments, which pay huge dividends in the form of healthier individuals, better social cohesion, greater economic prosperity, and national resilience in the face of any unexpected disease outbreak.

            On Universal Health Coverage Day, let us resolve to realize this vision as part of our efforts to enable all people to enjoy better health for generations to come.