Aim: Multiple stakeholders are involved in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The estimated over 90 million children with disabilities are among the most vulnerable members of the world’s population. Paediatricians around the world are united to promote a world where all children, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, can enjoy a healthy life and well-being. We examined: ‘What would be the least paediatricians could do to contribute to the UHC?’
Methods: In cross-sectional study paediatricians, engaged in care for children with disabling and rare conditions, were questioned on eight of the UHC statements concerning child health, primary care services, availability and affordability of diagnostics and therapies and digital health; as well as country of residence and level of practice.
Results: Responders from Europe and Israel, Asia and the US practice at primary-, secondary- and tertiary care level in high and middle economy countries. Promotion of paediatric primary care could reduce mortality and morbidity, according to 39/48 (81%) respondents. An active role of paediatricians in providing quality information would increase access to health services for children with disabilities, according to 40/48 (83%) responders. Improved data exchange is necessary to deliver primary care as a cornerstone, according to 38/48 (79%) responders. Respondents practising in middle economy countries reported significantly more frequently than their colleagues in high economies countries about “out of pocket” payments for diagnostics and therapies as well as reduced availability. In order to increase global awareness and international solidarity, a panel of participants in a paediatric network felt that paediatricians should undertake necessary actions to support the achievement of UHC.
Conclusion: The economic gap in diagnostic and therapeutic facilities in paediatric practice should be considered in achieving UHC. An international paediatric network should support achieving the UHC by providing adequate paediatric training and quality (digital) information.