Health financing for universal coverage

Monitoring financial protection in health in the SDGs

Illustration of Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals
UN Photo for sustainable development knowledge platform

11 October 2016 – Financial protection is a key dimension of universal health coverage, one of the health targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Financial protection therefore needs to be monitored within the framework of the SDGs. Financial protection means people are not exposed to financial hardship when they pay for health services. Indicator 3.8.2 of the SDGs concerns the proportion of the population not financially protected against the costs of health services.

Why and how to approach universal health coverage (UHC) from a public finance perspective in Africa?

Image from the WHO pre-conference workshop on universal health coverage from a public finance perspective held in Rabat, Morocco 25 September 2016.

30 September - WHO’s Department of Health Systems Governance and Financing and WHO Regional Office for Africa organized a bilingual pre-conference workshop about why and how to approach universal health coverage (UHC) from a public finance perspective in Africa 25 September 2016. The objectives of the meeting were to: approach the UHC research and policy agenda from a public finance perspective; provide evidence of successful public finance and budgeting reforms serving the UHC goals in Africa; and strengthen technical knowledge and capacities on how to approach, analyse and address fiscal space, public finance and budgeting challenges.

Spending targets for health: no magic number

Chart showing descriptive statistics (inputs and outputs) by public spending on health quintile

September 2016 - Absolute levels of public funding are critical to UHC progress; however, health systems vary significantly in what they achieve for a given level of spending. In a new analysis of core health service coverage rates relative to public spending on health, in 83 low and middle income countries, variation is particularly evident at levels below PPP$ 40 per capita (public). Whilst a range of non-health system factors influence a country’s performance, this analysis demonstrates the importance of focusing not only on raising more revenues for health, but also on ensuring available funds are spent efficiently.

Collaborative Agenda on Fiscal Space, Public Financial Management and Health Financing: meeting report 2016

WHO/J Kutzin

September 2016 - In April this year, WHO’s Department of Health Systems Governance and Financing convened a follow-up meeting to bring together representatives of national health and finance authorities, as well as other public finance and health financing policy experts and practitioners, to discuss key issues aimed at enhancing productive health financing dialog as countries seek to move towards universal health coverage.

New report on public financing for health in Africa

23 August 2016 – Fifteen years ago, African leaders pledged to increase health spending to 15% of total government expenditure. Since then health spending has reached an average of 10%. Still, as economies have grown, a number of challenges are hampering progress towards universal health coverage. A new WHO report examines trends in public financing in Africa and the critical role played by public financial management systems.

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

Joint WHO-WB course for francophone countries on UHC

The 2nd francophone course on UHC took place in Rabat, Morocco on June 27-30, 2016.

Alternative financing strategies for universal health coverage

This chapter synthesizes theory, lessons and practice into principles to guide country-level financing reforms.

Health system efficiency

Ten country case studies demonstrate the effects of improving efficiency in health systems.

Fiscal space, public financial management and health financing

Meeting held in Montreux 26-28 April 2016 to showcase ongoing work as part of the jointly agreed collaborative agenda.

Health financing country diagnostic

This document provides guidance on how to undertake a situation analysis of a country’s health financing system.

Monitoring financial protection in the SDGs

Find out how to use the indicator 3.8.2 of the SDGs.