Patient movement calls for universal health coverage to become a reality for all

Saturday, 3 December 2016

On Saturday 3 December, a global patient movement will rally together on Patient Solidarity Day in a united call for patient-centred universal health coverage for all by 2030.

Around 200 leading patient organizations across the world are expected to join forces on Saturday to hold governments and health systems to account. The campaign, run by the International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO), urges decision-makers to demonstrate their commitment to universal health coverage in a bid to build patient-centred health systems that leave no-one behind.

Goal 3.8 of the Sustainable Development Goals calls for universal health coverage for all. In September 2015, UN Member States committed to developing national frameworks to achieve patient-centred universal health coverage, promising: “As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no-one will be left behind”. 

On Saturday, patient groups will celebrate Patient Solidarity Day by calling for this commitment to be translated from paper into action. Universal health coverage will only be truly patient-centred when health services are universally accessible, affordable and of high quality. IAPO has developed a set of seven principles that need to be at the heart of health systems and services to ensure that universal health coverage is achieved.

From lobbying Ministries of Health in Latin America, free legal aid clinics in Africa, through to a rallying meeting of over 2,000 patients and stakeholders in South East Asia, patient groups around the world are keeping up the pressure to ensure that the commitment to universal health coverage for all by 2030 is kept.

The key to ensuring that no-one is left behind is collaborative decision-making based on genuine patient involvement.  Robust and sustainable action is needed from all stakeholders globally to develop patient-centred universal health coverage.

 Jolanta Bilińska, IAPO’s Chair, said: 

“Patient Solidarity Day 2016 is an opportunity for patients around the world to come together and unite in a call for a patient-centred universal health coverage, as promised by 194 Member States in September 2015. The Day is a reminder of the global voice that we have as patients and how we must use it to hold stakeholders to account. 

“To be genuinely patient-centred, universal health coverage must involve everyone and be based on healthcare that is universally accessible, affordable and of high quality. It is with this in mind that we must act to ensure that no-one is left behind by 2030.”

Piga Fernandez, GIST Chile Fundación, Chile said:

“Patient Solidarity Day is an opportunity for patients around the world to unite and be the voice of many patients that need treatments that the health systems in their countries do not cover.”

Christian Locka, Action for Humane Hospitals, Cameroon said:

“In several African countries, including my own, patients are considered clients that pay medical care without having the right to examine the quality of care. With a focus on healthcare centred on the patient, Patient Solidarity Day is an important advocacy tool which should ultimately put the patient before, during and after public health policies.”

With thirteen years to go, we cannot release the pressure on governments, international organizations, industry and other stakeholders. Through this whole-society initiative, the patient movement will keep demanding patient-centred universal access for all to ensure that no-one is left behind.

For more information: