Health financing for universal coverage

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.

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.

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

To celebrate UHC Day and as part of the series of meetings taking place at WHO, Geneva, please join our meeting on 14 December on current issues in health financing and UHC. We invite you to contribute your knowledge and experience to discussions about the challenging issues you face in developing and implementing health financing reforms. There will be a particular focus on fiscal sustainability and the transition away from external funding; public financial management and health financing reform; and results based financing.

This event will also be webcast. Further details to follow.

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 – The Inter-Agency Expert Group (IAEG) tasked with developing a framework of indicators to monitor the Sustainable Development Goals has accepted the WHO and World Bank’s joint proposal to refine indicator 3.8.2. This indicator will monitor progress towards financial protection as a core dimension of universal health coverage with a valid impact indicator defined as the “proportion of population with large household expenditures on heath as a share of total household expenditure or income”. This is welcome modification supported by civil society, academia, and policy makers alike.

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.

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.