Patient Solidarity Day and need for Universal Health care for all
Dr KK Aggarwal
National President IMA
In consumer market, the consumer is the most important and in healthcare, a patient is our asset and that too, the most important one. As doctors, we need to lend our ears to his sufferings, practice empathy and not sympathy and be available to him at all times of need. We need to maintain the honor and dignity of the medical profession and treat patients with the same dignity, honor and due respect.
In September 2015, the 194 Member States of the United Nations agreed to develop and put in place practical actions and national frameworks to achieve Universal Health care and other targets, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Resolution A/RES/70/1).
On this Patient Solidarity Day (PSD), Saturday 3rd December 2016, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) calls on our members, state and local branches, institutions and stakeholders to support the call for universal health coverage (UHC) for all. UHC can be defined as affordable, high-quality and accessible healthcare for everyone
Sustainable, patient-centered UHC will need significant efforts and firm commitment over the next 14 years from the key actors in the healthcare system: governments, the pharmaceutical industry, healthcare providers and patients’ organizations.
Patient-centered UHC means that all people receive the health services they need, without suffering financial hardship.
The following are the core principles of universal health coverage
· Accessibility: All patients have the right to access the healthcare they need and when they need it.
· Patient-centeredness and equity: All people, regardless of disease or condition; age, gender, race or ethnic background; sexual orientation; geographic location; socio-cultural background, economic or legal status, must have fair and impartial access to quality healthcare.
· Choice and empowerment: All patients have the right to know about the healthcare services that are available. Patients must be able to be meaningfully involved in healthcare decision-making in a variety of ways at the local, national, regional and global level.
· Quality: It is not enough for all patients to have access to healthcare. Provision needs to be safe, of the highest attainable standard and include a commitment to learning and improvement. Patients need to define what constitutes quality in healthcare.
· Partnership and collaboration: Patients have a moral and ethical right to play a meaningful role at all levels; in health and in other areas that can have an impact on health and wellbeing.
· Sustainability and the value of healthcare: All stakeholders need to recognize the value of healthcare when considering investing in universal health coverage.
· Accountability and transparency: Accountability and transparency are vital to delivering safe, effective and affordable healthcare. All stakeholders need to be held accountable on commitments they have made to implement universal health coverage, and be accountable to the patients that they serve.
IMA initiative: Key messages
· Leave no-one behind.
· UHC is only truly patient-centered when health services are universally accessible, affordable, and of high quality.
· IMA members to take responsibility for implementing robust national frameworks and appropriate measures to achieve patient-centered UHC.
· Healthcare stakeholders to be held accountable for their commitments to achieve UHC.
· Collaborative decision-making, based on genuine patient involvement, is key to ensuring that no-one is left behind.
As a board member of PSM (Partnership for Safe Medicine), both myself and IMA are committed to the patients.
I will be taking over as the National President IMA on 28th December and have included the important issues of ‘Patient Safety’ and ‘Patients’ Rights’ in my agenda.
IMA will be closely working with Bejon as an advisor and PSM to take this forward.
I am sorry I will not be able to join you all in Varanasi due to viral fever. But, I wish the event all success.
(Speech at Varanasi, on the occasion of Patient Solidarity Day, Organized by PSM India)