Health financing for universal coverage

Data Portal on universal health coverage launched

Universal health coverage data portal

January 2017 – WHO has launched a new data portal to track progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) around the world. The portal features the latest data on access to health services globally and for each of WHO’s 194 Member States, along with an assessment of equity in access. Information is provided for tracer indicators, with country profiles showing trends over time. During 2017, the latest data on the impact that paying for health services has on household finances will be added. The portal highlights areas of high unmet need in countries, and also shows where information needs to be improved.

New publication on expanding fiscal space to support UHC in LMICs

Calculator and stethoscope on top of printed diagram
Shutterstock/Chompoo Suriyo

December 2016 – Fiscal space is a very important concept for health financing reform to support universal health coverage. This paper is the first comprehensive review of studies from more than 40 low- and middle-income countries to explore how the concept of fiscal space is applied and used. Analysis explores results of country-level projections of fiscal space and assesses the main methods used to project fiscal space for health. This review complements the programme of work under the Collaborative Agenda on Fiscal Space, Public Financial Management and Health Financing.

Spending targets: no magic number

Look at our new infographic on spending targets highlighting that in some low-and middle-income countries, good performance on UHC is happening with low spending; and poor performance on UHC is happening with relatively high spending. Whilst increasing public spending in health is central to move towards universal health coverage, even at low spending levels countries can make progress.

Sharing country experiences: fiscal sustainability and transition, public finance management, and results-based financing

December 2016 – To celebrate UHC Day, WHO hosted a meeting on 14 December about current issues in health financing and UHC. Discussions focused on challenging issues faced when developing and implementing health financing reforms. There was a particular focus on fiscal sustainability and the transition away from external funding; public financial management and health financing reform; and results-based financing. The event was web streamed.

Data availability to monitor SDG indicator 3.8.2

WHO/World Bank

6 December 2016 – The SDG indicator 3.8.2 "lack of financial protection in health" is defined as the proportion of the population with large household expenditures on health as a share of total household expenditure (e.g. 10% and/or 25%). Monitoring this requires a nationally representative survey that contains information on household expenditure on health and household total expenditure. In 2017, the World Bank and WHO will jointly issue a global estimate of the number of individuals with large household expenditures on health as a share of total household expenditure (e.g. 10%). This global estimate will cover 120 countries, representing approximately 90% of the world’s population.

Health financing for universal coverage

Universal health coverage (UHC) aims to ensure that everyone, everywhere, can access quality health services without facing financial hardship as a result. Every year 100 million people are pushed into poverty and 150 million people globally suffer financial catastrophe annually because of out-of-pocket expenditure on health services. Financial protection is at the core of UHC and improving financial protection is a central focus of health financing policy.

Recent highlights

Meeting report 2016

Collaborative Agenda on Fiscal Space, Public Financial Management and Health Financing

Strategic purchasing: an emerging agenda for Africa

Bilingual one-day workshop on strategic purchasing on 29 September 2016 in Rabat, Morocco.

Public financing for health in Africa: from Abuja to the SDGs

This report highlights opportunities for accelerated progress toward universal health coverage (UHC).

Spending targets for health: no magic number

This analysis demonstrates the importance of focusing on ensuring available funds are spent efficiently.