Key messages

World Health Day messages

Universal health coverage means that all people can use quality health services where and when they need them, without financial hardship.

Health is a human right; everyone should have the information and services they need to take care of their own health and the health of their families.

Out-of-pocket spending on health is pushing people into poverty, even in high-income European countries.

In many countries in Europe, payments for medicines are the main cause of financial hardship.

Quality and accessible primary health care is fundamental to advancing universal health coverage.

Primary health care should be the first level of contact with the health system, where individuals, families and communities receive most of their health care – from promotion and prevention to treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care – as close as possible to where they live and work.

At its heart, primary health care is about caring for people, and helping them improve their health or maintain their well-being, rather than just treating specific diseases or conditions.

Primary health care covers the majority of your health needs throughout your life, including services such as screening for health problems, vaccines, information on how to prevent disease, family planning, treatment for long- and short-term conditions, coordination with other levels of care, and rehabilitation.

Primary health care is a cost-effective and equitable way of delivering health services and helping countries make progress towards universal health coverage.

A health system with strong primary health care contributes to better health outcomes, is cost-efficient and improves quality of care.

Health professionals have a crucial role to play in educating patients on how to take care of their health, coordinating care and advocating for their patients’ needs to health facility managers and policy-makers.

Primary health-care professionals have a continuing and trusted relationship with their patients and know their health history; knowing the full picture helps improve their care and saves money.

To make health for all a reality, we need: individuals and communities who have access to quality health services so that they can take care of their own health and the health of their families; skilled health professionals providing quality, people-centred care; and policy-makers committed to investing in primary health care.