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Global lessons for Australian general practice

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We have much to share, but also much to learn, about providing truly universal health coverage

Ageing populations, overcrowded hospitals and emergency departments, increases in the numbers of people with chronic diseases and mental health concerns, consumer demands for improvements in health care services and access to new discoveries and technologies, struggling health budgets with a reduced focus on prevention and health promotion — these are just some of the global health challenges facing many countries, including Australia.

Yet, universal health coverage remains the greatest global health challenge. How do we ensure that all people have access to timely, acceptable and affordable health care of appropriate quality, making possible “the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being”, as enshrined in the constitution of the World Health Organization?1

In September 2015, the 193 member states of the United Nations General Assembly, including Australia, adopted Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.2 This document outlines the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) that aim to end poverty and hunger, improve health and education for all people, and protect the global environment.3 Only one of these SDGs is specifically…