July 2017 - Public financing is central to making progress toward universal health coverage (UHC). By applying a method to separate out external sources of public expenditure on health, a new WHO publication – Towards UHC: thinking public – sheds light on the actual role of domestic public funds in financing health. It provides a powerful call for countries to “think public” as they develop their health financing strategies in support of UHC.
June 2017 - 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.
The report applies a causal framework to synthesize lessons from ten case studies of various health system reforms which aimed to improve the efficiency in health systems of Burundi, Chile, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Ethiopia Mexico, the Republic of Korea, South Africa and Uruguay. The report summarizes the main forms of inefficiency, policy reforms undertaken to address these, and the results in each country. The authors derive key lessons learnt from these experiences and suggest promising future directions for improving efficiency in health systems.
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. More than 80 participants from national health authorities and purchasing agencies, development agencies, foundations, as well as researchers convened to discuss five key themes: benefit design, mixed provider payment system, governance for strategic purchasing, information management systems, and payment for performance. This meeting also served the purpose of developing further a collaborative agenda to support countries’ efforts to move towards strategic purchasing for UHC.