Step by step towards Health for All
As part of efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, governments around the world are reforming their health systems to ensure that all people have equal access to healthcare. As one of the first developing countries Nepal is moving towards a more equitable healthcare policy with a national insurance system.
‘Health for all’ has yet to become a matter of course. Worldwide, there are 400 million* people who do not have adequate or even no access to basic healthcare. Accordingly, combating this issue has been included in the list of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. Thereby, the goal of ‘Health for All’ is focused not only on direct access to treatment options and medicines, but also includes precautionary measures aimed in particular at alleviating the financial burden for those in poverty, thus reducing inequality in access to health services.
Nepal sets a first milestone
Against the current backdrop of inequality, the Nepalese Parliament has passed a new law that provides financial protection for all sections of the population in the event of illness. With the introduction of compulsory and uniform basic insurance, premium subsidies for the poor and a regulated relationship between the insured and insurance providers, the new system is in many ways similar to Swiss healthcare. With this bold initiative, Nepal is not only undertaking to reform its own health system but is also setting a significant milestone on the path towards universal health coverage. “The law relates primarily to the individualisation of insurance for individuals and families. The financial burden will particularly be alleviating for people with low income,” says FAIRMED country director, Nirmala Sharma, about the reform.
FAIRMED providing backup
FAIRMED is also committed to achieving the goal of ‘Health for All’ in Nepal, above all for people living in remote regions and in poor conditions, who are unable to take advantage of existing health services. In the district of Kapilvastu, for example, where FAIRMED is committed to sustainable improvement of healthcare for mothers and infants. Here, the emphasis is on education and training for local health workers and volunteers, as well as information and awareness-raising activities aimed at informing mothers about available health care services. “So far, these courses of action have had far-reaching positive effects, and have helped us to enable access to all-round medical care for almost everyone in the region,” explains Nirmala Sharma.
*Source: WHO Global Monitoring Report 2015
Read the article on Nepal's new Health Act