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On the eve of World Health Day, the Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa F. Etienne, and former president of Chile Michelle Bachelet called for collective actions to ensure that all people, everywhere have access to the health services they need.
In the Americas region, one third of the population faces obstacles to accessing health. "Health is a right, and as such we must overcome barriers to have access to care," said Etienne, noting that out-of-pocket payment that many people must make to obtain health services "constitutes the main barrier and pushes families towards poverty." Other barriers are geographic or institutional in nature, including stigma and discrimination in health services. "It is not enough to have hospitals and health centers, these institutions must have the right combination of human resources, infrastructure and equipment, medicines and other health technologies, to avoid long waiting times and offer quality care," Etienne said.
- Universal health, the theme of World Health Day 2018, implies that all people and communities have access, without discrimination, to quality health services without having to expose themselves to financial difficulties. Under the slogan "Universal Health: Everyone, Everywhere," the campaign calls on representatives of governments, academia and civil society to stimulate dialogue on policies that can help achieve health for all by 2030… (PAHO / WHO, April 4, 2018)