The MedTech Europe blog

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has become a hot topic among the international health community. I am sure that for all healthcare stakeholders achieving UHC would be like a dream come true.

Recent demographical and epidemiological data confirms that future healthcare demand will be unsustainable for any government unless clear policies aimed at more efficient resource allocation and maximisation are identified and implemented. Until recently, UHC was considered an issue only for low-income countries, but ageing populations and lifestyle changes in high-income countries have led to a constant – and often losing – battle to address and contain the impacts of chronic conditions. The Lancet recently published an article entitled “Stemming the global tsunami of cardiovascular diseases”, which states that, in 2010, at least one-third of the EU population suffered from at least one chronic condition and two billion people are at risk for cardiovascular diseases. Treatment costs for chronic conditions totalled almost USD 300 billion in 2003 or 40% of total healthcare expenditure in the same year. No government, I believe, will be capable of responding to these challenges if current paradigms do not change and focus on keeping healthy. Otherwise, millions of people will be marginalised and the rate of those without access to care will skyrocket – a nightmare no policymaker would ever want to face.

Achieving Universal Health Coverage will require some effort from all players and at all levels: from the international to the local level and from the health system managers to the medical device and pharmaceutical sector. Given the immediate need for innovative, appropriate technology in developed as well as developing countries, I am convinced that the medical device and pharmaceutical sectors have the power to provide unique insight and input into UHC solutions and make significant advances towards achieving universal access to care. The dialogue and experience from those working directly in these sectors is essential to any discourse surrounding UHC.

Unfortunately, members of the private sector are often overlooked in these dialogues, a realm frequently relegated solely to international policymakers, NGO’s and those working exclusively in Global Health. The experience of industry, however, is essential to determining the best path to UHC and truly achieving universal access.

In this light, the SDA Bocconi School of Management’s Master of International Health Care Management, Economics and Policy (MIHMEP) will host the international conference: Sustaining and Implementing Universal Health Coverage: 4 perspectives for 5 Continents on 10 February 2012 in Milan, Italy. The event is designed around the four pillars of the MIHMEP Master (Global Health & Development, Health Care Management, Health Systems Planning & Governance, and Pharmaceutical & Medical Technology) . It will be a truly unique opportunity to present the experience of those in the Industry and to interact with international policymakers on a level playing field. I hope that together, we will be able to really make the voice of the MedTech industry heard on the international stage!

Prof. Rosanna Tarricone
Director Master of International Health Care Management, Economics and Policy

For more information on the conference programme or to find out who else will be attending, go to http://www.sdabocconi.it/en/universal_health_coverage

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