Abi Ogunmwonyi|06.04.2018|Feature

Here’s why it matters…

April 7th 2018 marks the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 70th annual World Health Day and this year they’re putting a spotlight on universal health care. It’s so key for us to put a spotlight on this because half of the world is currently lacking access to appropriate medical services.

It’s not just about access to healthcare, almost 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets.

So what does this mean for access to sexual and reproductive health/HIV services? Across Africa, 40% of adolescent girls have experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner and gender-based violence is associated with a significantly greater risk of acquiring HIV.

Access to healthcare is a problem affecting so many of us, and in terms of sexual and reproductive health, women and girls are least likely to have access to the care that they really need and want. Stigma, discrimination, criminalization and social exclusion are reasons why people from key populations cannot access these services.

On the flip side, few countries have invested in programs and policies that provide access to youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services.

Opening conversations about universal access to care is so important especially where so many key populations including sex workers, transgender people, people who inject drugs, prisoners as well as young women and girls live in a socio-political climate where their behavior or identities increase vulnerability to HIV and reduce access to testing and treatment programmes.

#HealthForAll means ensuring that everyone, everywhere can access essential quality health services without facing financial hardship.