Health financing for universal coverage

Human resources for health reforms : Ethiopia case study

A large increase in the number of primary health care units in the past decade resulted in a doubling of health posts and five times more health centres in Ethiopia. The health workforce required to meet the increase in demand did not keep pace, and the emerging imbalance raised concerns related to aspects of both technical and allocative inefficiency. In order to augment human resources for health, a new cadre of health extension worker was trained and deployed to health posts to meet family and community demands. The paper discusses the reforms in Ethiopia that successfully scaled up the health workforce by creating health extension workers, shifting tasks, and expanding primary health care units.

Featured topic : Public financial management

Public financial management (PFM) rules govern how budgets are formed, disbursed and accounted for. This is centrally important to universal health coverage to make sure increases in public spending translate into expanded health coverage. National health authorities should aim to effectively engage with national budgetary authorities to foster credible, priority-oriented health budgets, ensure efficient flows and execution and strengthen accountability.

New: “Strategic purchasing for UHC” global meeting report now available

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 summarizes key messages and directions for future work on the five themes explored during the meeting: benefit design; mixed provider payment systems; pay for performance and results based financing; information management systems; and governance issues in strategic purchasing. The discussions around a global collaborative agenda to coordinate future work are also reported here.

Towards UHC: thinking public

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.


Recent highlights

Pay-for-performance debate: not seeing the forest for the trees

A new commentary on P4P has been published in the Journal Health Systems & Reform.

Aligning PFM and health financing

The document offers guidance for improving alignment between PFM systems and health financing policy in support of UHC.

Earmarking for health: from theory to practice

A new publication sheds light on the realities of earmarking revenues for health.

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

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

Universal coverage

Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.