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Strategic purchasing for UHC: Key policy issues and questions
A summary from expert and practitioners’ discussions

Part of cover image for the document

Strategic purchasing is one of the main principles guiding health financing reforms to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage. The document outlines and frames five key policy issues that emerged from expert and practitioners’ discussions held at various meetings. These issues are critical for reforms to shift towards strategic purchasing and cover the following areas: governance, information management systems, benefit design; mixed provider payment systems; and managing alignment and dynamics.

Public financing for universal health coverage
A way to foster dialogue between finance and health

A figure on aligning public financial management and health financing systems.

23 October 2017 - Directing public funds towards services which address population health needs and other policy priorities is fundamental for a country's health system to move towards universal health coverage. This newly developed guide provides a process and framework to assist countries in identifying and then addressing critical misalignments between the public financial management system and health financing objectives. Through its application, health and finance authorities can engage in a collaborative and constructive dialogue in support of UHC.

Free health care policies – WHO policy brief now available in French

Community volunteers treating malaria and pneumonia in Burkina Faso

Free health care (FHC) policies – or politiques de gratuité – are about removing formal user fees either fully or partially for selected services and/or selected population groups. However, evidence about the impact of FHC policies in terms of financial protection and health service utilization is mixed. If well designed and implemented, FHC can be a way to expand coverage in countries with few resources and can therefore be part of a strategy and a catalyst to move towards universal health coverage.

Community based health insurance – WHO policy brief now available in French

Community based health insurance: how can it contribute to progress towards UHC? cover

This policy brief outlines what community based health insurance is and why it is important to discuss it in relation to universal health coverage. It explores how community based health insurance fits into health financing policy and its key characteristics and effects of CBHI on progress towards UHC. Evidence of community based health insurance based on theory and practice is presented to show their impact on population coverage, utilisation of health services and financial protection.

Summary report available on the global meeting “Strategic purchasing for UHC”


WHO’s Department of Health Systems Governance and Financing held a global meeting entitled “Strategic purchasing for UHC: unlocking the potential” from 25-27 April 2017 in Geneva.

This report provides key messages and orientations for future work on the following five themes explored during the meeting: 1) Benefit design; 2) Mixed provider payment systems; 3) Pay for Performance and Results Based Financing: From scheme to system; 4) Information management systems; and 5) Governance issues in strategic purchasing. It also summarizes the discussions around 6) a global collaborative agenda and 7) next steps and the way forward.

All documents and publications on the WHO health financing policy website are listed here sorted by document type for easy access. Please choose a category below to access the documents. The list is updated continually.