Quality of essential health services is a critical and relatively unexplored dimension within rapidly evolving UHC driven health systems. Indeed, the field of quality improvement – focused on systematic change methods and strategies – has a unique role in improving equity and effectiveness of health systems seeking to achieve UHC. There is an urgent need to place quality of care at the centre of global, regional and country level action in order to progress towards effective UHC.
Worldwide, an estimated 350 million diagnostic medical examinations are performed on children. Using radiation in medical imaging can save lives, but inappropriate use may lead to unnecessary and unintended radiation doses. Because children are smaller and have a longer lifespan than adults their risk of developing radiation-induced effects is greater. In response, WHO have released a communication tool entitled “Communicating radiation risks in paediatric imaging”. The tool provides medical practitioners with information, skills and resources they need to communicate clearly and effectively about the benefits and risks of imaging procedures to paediatric patients and their families.
12 December 2015 -- Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day highlights the fact that too many people are still waiting to access quality, essential health services without risk of financial hardship. UHC is not just about access to or covering cost of health services but ensuring the health services provided are safe, of good quality and will not cause harm. The incorporation of quality into the fabric of UHC is essential for the best outcome for patients and populations. WHO is actively supporting Member States in this area of work through improving integration and people-centredness of health services as well as strengthening national health care quality policies.
Antibiotics are a precious resource and should be preserved. They should be used to treat bacterial infections, only when prescribed by a certified health professional. The emergence of resistance in the microorganisms has mainly been caused by an inappropriate use of antibiotics. The first World Antibiotic Awareness Week (16 to 22 November 2015) aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance. WHO is encouraging all Member States and health partners to join this campaign. A variety of resources are available to support local campaigns including factsheets, infographics, posters and multi-media materials.
13 October 2015 -- WHO launched the Clean Care is Safer Care programme in October 2005, with the aim of reducing health care-associated infections around the world. We hereby commemorate a decade of raising awareness, mobilizing political and professional commitment and promoting best practices for infection prevention and control. Much has been achieved across the world since 2005.
Primary health care: foundational to healthy communities
Effective primary health care is essential to strong health systems. Countries with high-performing primary health care achieve better health outcomes, more equitably and at lower cost compared to peers that over emphasize hospital and specialty care. On 26 September 2015, WHO, the World Bank Group and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation launch the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative (PHCPI). This initiative will assist low- and middle-income countries in improving primary health care through better measurement and knowledge-sharing. PHCPI helps countries identify which parts of their health system are working well and which ones need improvement in order to drive advancements and enhance accountability.
Service Delivery and Safety (SDS)
WHO SDS supports countries in moving their health systems towards universal health coverage, through increased access to safe, high quality, effective, people-centred and integrated services.