How could our little ones’ ideas inspire strides towards Universal Health Coverage?
Estimated reading time: 4-6 minutes
With much of the world’s population still missing out on vital health services, how could YoungWEF help to inspire innovative solutions?
Did you know that over 50% of the global population still does not have full coverage of essential health services1? Our health is crucial to our day-to-day happiness and wellbeing, yet many of us are still missing out on basic care. And, while the healthcare industry is making huge strides in care quality and emerging technologies are opening up new possibilities for what we can achieve, there are still monumental challenges to overcome. World Health Day, which is celebrated on 7th April every year, serves to raise awareness of these global healthcare challenges and encourage governments, businesses and people across the world to take action.
In its 70th anniversary year, the World Health Organization (WHO) is focusing on the challenge of healthcare inclusivity, calling for universal health coverage (UHC) and questioning how we can leverage innovations to provide #HealthForAll for future generations.
Health makes the world go round
Universal health coverage is the provision of inclusive healthcare for all, where individuals and communities receive the care they need without suffering financial hardship. This includes essential health services ranging from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care2.
The Sustainable Development Goals call for universal health coverage by 20303, but there is still a long way to go to meet this target. In fact, every year approximately 100 million people are still pushed into extreme poverty (which means they are living on $1.90 or less per day) as a result of their healthcare expenditure4; and WHO estimates that up to 400 million people5 are still living without immunizations, family planning services and basic hospital access. How can we work to standardize healthcare and provide all populations with access to the care that they need?
Philips and other organizations can play a key strategic role in innovating solutions and business models for primary care, using new technologies to provide levels of care that were unthinkable in the past. We must particularly consider the widely neglected areas of technology and infrastructure, which are stifling care quality in many low-middle income countries.
Big ideas from little minds
With constant innovations and demographic changes to consider, the healthcare spectrum and the needs of the global population are changing all the time. We need to understand the needs of future generations in order to be able to provide inclusive care, so who better to turn to than the decision makers of these generations themselves? It’s this thinking that inspired Philips’ YoungWEF campaign, which considers the perspective of the world’s most curious minds – kids.
In 2017, we asked parents to share their children’s visions for the future of healthcare. This year, we turned the tables to let kids ask the biggest question of all – ‘why’. Children have an inherent inquisitiveness that helps them to challenge the status quo and come up with unique solutions to problems that, as adults, we may not consider. Kids’ suggestions for treatment range from medicine that tastes like chocolate to magic ‘superpills’ that can cure any disease. Unsurprisingly, robots are another popular topic among our little ones – but with ideas including robot doctors and robot pets who can monitor our health in our own homes, our children could help to inspire practical uses of emerging technologies that could help to overcome the UHC challenge.
Looking to the future
At Philips, we believe that collaboration is the key to unlocking inclusive healthcare for all. While innovations in technology will allow us to provide new types and levels of care, businesses, governments and other stakeholders must work together to implement these solutions in the best way for each individual population, scaling the impact that we can have on people’s lives.
We aspire to lead the healthcare transformation on our journey towards improving the lives of 3 billion people per year by 2025. We believe that through meaningful innovation, technological advancements and responsible leadership, we can help to increase access to quality healthcare worldwide and improve health outcomes for all.
Innovation Matters delivers news, opinions and features about healthcare, and is focused on the professionals who work within the industry, as well as Philips as a cutting-edge health technology organization.