Although many lessons have been learned through COVID-19, one of most crucial is the urgent need for universal health coverage to advance protection against the threats of infectious diseases and consequences to the population and economy. As vaccination policies and programs move towards implementing a life course approach, health disparities continue to be ever present in all countries around the world. To ensure no one is left behind, especially those most at-risk, governments need to prioritize increasing their investment in health promotion and prevention programs including immunization.
In the recently published article entitled ‘South Korea’s Health-Centered Development Model’, author Lee Jong- Wha, shares the success of South Korea in developing and sustaining a well-functioning and resilient universal health coverage program.
It is important to acknowledge the decade of this work and effort that has made medical and health-care services more accessible and cost-effective since the 1960’s. As a result of strong government commitment and investment to universal health care, evidence shows high vaccination uptake rates and effective containment of communicable diseases in South Korea.
The commitment to universal health coverage and public health investment in vaccines in South Korea has resulted in the success of protecting population groups including older people and those with chronic health conditions against infectious diseases. This investment is also associated with robust social and economic systems that continue to prosper.
Although the UN Sustainable Development Goals brings together a common agenda to work towards achieving universal health coverage including access to safe, and affordable vaccines, inequities around the world pose several challenges. Still to this day, most than half of the world’s population does not have access to health coverage and vaccines that are a crucial pillar of expanded prevention strategies.
To combat vaccination inequity and ensure universal health coverage, join the Vaccines4Life World Coalition on Adult Vaccination (WCAV). The WCAV brings together experts of non-governmental organizations and academia, clinicians, and public health worldwide collaborating on a common agenda around a life course approach to vaccination. Follow the #Vaccine4Life platform on twitter to learn more about good practices in public health investment and worldwide case studies of inequities that contribute to low uptake rates.
To engage with an expert on the value of universal health care, connect with Dr. Xenia Scheil-Adlung. She has published various research particularly on health coverage, and inequalities in access to services among older persons. To learn more about building a business case to improve public health investment for immunizations, connect with Dr. Bryan Patenaude, economist and Assistant Professor of Economic Evaluation in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has extensive expertise analyzing the cost-effectiveness of public health interventions including the economic impact of infection prevention policies and programs.
Dr. Xenia Scheil-Adlung UN Rep for Geneva
Dr. Xenia Scheil-Adlung is a UN Representative for Geneva / International Federation on Ageing
Bryan Patenaude Assistant Professor
Dr. Bryan Patenaude, ScD is an economist and Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.