Today is World Health Day ¬– a day to celebrate our achievements and acknowledge our challenges. This year’s theme is ‘Universal Health Coverage (UHC): everyone, everywhere’.
Minister for Rural Health, Senator Bridget McKenzie acknowledged the importance of this year’s theme and the challenges of ensuring Australians have access to the same level of healthcare, regardless of where they live.
“Every Australian has the right to the same level of health care, regardless of if they live in a metropolitan area, or in one of our rural and remote communities,” Minister McKenzie said.
“People living in rural and regional areas make an enormous contribution to our nation – our economy, our culture and our national character, yet often have limited access to services that those living in cities take for granted.
“I am committed to improving access to quality rural health services, and to addressing workforce shortages — ensuring we give our future health workforce the opportunity to train and work locally.
“The Coalition Government funds a number of initiatives and programs focusing on training and retaining health workforce in the regions. The Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund will improve rural training capacity by looking for innovative ways to train junior doctors in primary care settings and improve the continuity of rural doctor training.
“The Australian General Practice Training Program funds postgraduate vocational training for medical graduates wishing to pursue a career in general practice. The Program has expanded from 600 commencing training places in 2009, to 1,500 commencing training places each year, from 2015.
“I recently announced a landmark agreement between the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine for a nationally-recognised Rural Generalist medical specialty.
“By defining what it is be a Rural Generalist and developing options for what education and training programs would be required, we can then build a pathway to create this specialty and recognise the extra efforts of these doctors.
“The Coalition Government is proud to have initiatives that directly contribute to the World Health Organization’s 2018 World Health Day theme of UHC which seeks to ensure that everyone, everywhere can access essential quality health services without facing financial hardship.”
World Health Day is an important date on the calendar as it draws attention to global health priorities and the World Health Organization leads the campaign for the Day.