By Sarah Trent,
Duke Global Health Institute
Over the next three days, nearly 2,000 international researchers, policy makers, clinicians, educators, and global health leaders gather in Beijing, China at the Second Global Symposium on Health Systems Research to promote universal health coverage. Today’s opening plenary featured prominent health scholars from Bangladesh, China, United Kingdom, South Africa, Philippines and the United States lobbying from their respective countries, communities, and on behalf of global citizens everywhere, for universal health coverage.
Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, asked: how do you ask someone without a pocket, to pay for health care out-of-pocket? She drew on examples from Rwanda and Bangladesh to highlight what is possible within universal health coverage and to inspire those gathered to realize these achievements everywhere. Speakers agreed that universal health coverage is a technical issue and political issue, calling for a global movement in support of universal health care coverage. Lincoln Chen, president of China Medical Board, followed Rodin framing Universal Health Coverage as something that should be ethically-driven. He acknowledged the technical solutions required to extend universal health coverage; however, he impressed that universal health coverage is equally a moral issue requiring an ethically-oriented process toward change.
odin and Chen, and their global peers, provided inspiration and hope while outlining their high expectations for conference attendees, our global health leaders. We collectively have the power, knowledge and moral imperative to move global health toward universal coverage, to echo Rodin: not in the distant future but in the foreseeable future, not in some countries, but in all countries.