"Health is a fundamental human right. But we have a long way to go until everyone — no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have — can receive the quality healthcare they need and deserve at every moment of their life". Dr Tedros, DG WHO. 2018. Health is, moreover, an essential element for the equitable and sustainable development of individuals and countries and for reducing poverty.
Health occupies central place in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It features as a goal in itself in SDG 3: "Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages," and is considered crucial to achieving the SDGs.
The remaining 16 SDGs focus on essential non-healthcare social determinants of health, such as food security and adequate nutrition (SDG 2), education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5), water and sanitation (SDG 6), actions against climate change (SDG 13), sustainable and safe cities (SDG 11), etc.
Spanish Cooperation's Fifth Master Plan adopts SDG 3, and Target 3.8: Achieve universal health coverage as one of its own objectives, with the following principal lines of action:
- Improving the quality and capacity of the National Health Services, including increased access to primary healthcare and to essential specialized care at the different levels of care
- Strengthening access to sexual and reproductive healthcare integrated into national health services
- Strengthening the healthcare system in preparation for and response to healthcare emergencies
- Supporting access to medicines, vaccines and other essential healthcare/medical products
Target 3.8: Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential healthcare services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all, is considered the cornerstone to achieving the remaining Targets of SDG 3.
The Sectoral Action Plan for Health and the 2016 Sectoral Document for Health, which identifies new perspectives and recommendations of the Health Sector post-2015 in AECID, considers the strengthening of national health systems and services to be essential to rising to the challenge of achieving universal health coverage the world over. This objective calls for the development and strengthening of health systems in a manner that is comprehensive, proportionate and balanced at all levels of care, as well as increasing the access of the population to a greater number of essential quality services, to meet the growing needs of people at each moment of their lives.
According to WHO, universal health coverage does not merely mean supplying a minimum package of health services in each country, but ensuring a progressive expansion of the coverage of essential services and their financial protection, as and when additional resources become available.
Flagship programmes and projects
- Support programme for the strengthening of the Health Services of Mozambique through sectoral budgetary support since 2004, with contributions to the Common Fund PROSAUDE, for the implementation of the successive Strategic Health Sector Plans, focused primarily on the increase of universal health coverage for primary healthcare for the country's entire population. This instrument has also been used in Ethiopia and Niger to contribute to the provision of comprehensive and accessible health services for all, with a particular focus on access to primary healthcare services.
- Technical support programmes for specialized medical training and assistance in Mozambique, Ethiopia, Niger and Bolivia, focused on increasing universal health coverage in respect of specialized essential hospital care accessible to the entire population, drawing on the experience and knowledge of Spain's National Health System and its professionals.