is the most important factor in all of our lives. Having sound health is
equivalent to being in a state where we are free from illness or injury. No
matter who we are, where we live, or how much money we have, to have good
health is the greatest form of wealth we could obtain.
“Health for All” is a global health movement undertaken by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the late 20th century. According to WHO, "'Health for All' does not mean an end to disease and disability, but rather, it means that resources for health care are evenly distributed and are easily accessible to everyone.
In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank jointly published a report stating that 400 million people globally lack basic healthcare services. As a consequence, some 150 million people in the world face ‘financial catastrophes’ due to high health expenses. It was then when WHO coined the term “Universal Health Coverage” (UHC), under which each and every person on the planet has to have access to affordable and reliable health services. Later, this was supported by UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well.
In Nepal, both the National Health Policy (2014) and the National Health Sector Strategy (2015) aim for universal coverage; even though this is a noble goal, there have been no concrete actions. Thus, Nepal is exploring many possible ways to raise the money for universal coverage, including through health insurance.
The study conducted by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) (2013) shows that rural residents have a limited understanding of health insurance and risk management. They also found that these rural residents consider their chances of procuring quality healthcare, when they need it, as pretty slim.
International experience shows that it is possible to significantly improve poor people’s access to quality healthcare through health insurance. In Thailand, the ‘30 Baht’ health insurance system has been highly successful, while India has also been able to successfully provide health coverage to all of its citizens living under the poverty line. Similarly, the Maldives covers the health costs of all of its citizens through a similar system.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health to strengthen peripheral health facilities and ensure quality services for all.