Health financing for universal coverage

Health Financing Course in Barcelona

Robert Ramos

In June 2016, the third WHO Advanced Course on Health Financing for Universal Coverage for low- and middle-income countries took place in Barcelona, Spain. Participants came together for this one-week-long training course to discuss how health financing policy can be used to improve health system performance in support of universal health coverage.

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. With a focus on how to extend coverage to people working in the informal sector, the course gathered 125 participants from 18 francophone countries across AFRO, EMRO and PAHO. Government officials came from Ministry of Health, Finance and Social Affairs as well as health insurance agencies. Country WHO and World Bank officers joined each country delegation. The four-day course offered participants the possibility to engage and share country experiences and challenges to extend health coverage to the informal sector.

Visit our data and statistics page

Smiling girls near the railway tracks at Mahim, Mumbai - March 2015.
WHO/D Rodriguez

Please take a look at our revamped data and statistics page. Here you can find global health financing databases, and reports on global finance and health. Also, find out about a country's health financing system through key data and statistics. A range of maps illustrate expenditure on health and the latest health financing indicators per WHO member state.

Health financing topics

Our website now includes information on a range of key topics in health financing policy. We are continually adding new topics to this section, with the aim of providing a summary of the key policy issues and messages, definitions, priority references and other information such as recent events and links to training opportunities.

Current topics include the core functions of health financing policy, and other issues such as public health taxes, earmarking revenues for health, financial protection, and public financial management. If you have suggestions or comments please let us know.

Fiscal space, public financial management and health financing: sustaining progress towards universal health coverage

WHO’s Department of Health Systems Governance and Financing convened representatives from national health and finance ministries and other relevant government bodies, partner agencies, foundations, initiatives and civil society organizations, to discuss priorities and opportunities for enhancing productive engagement between finance and health authorities to enable countries to sustain progress towards universal health coverage. This meeting showcased ongoing work as part of the jointly agreed upon collaborative agenda.

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

Health financing country diagnostic

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

Raising revenues - Policy brief

The importance of public funding for health to improve access to health services and ensure financial protection.

Health system efficiency

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

Alternative financing strategies for universal health coverage

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

Concepts in global health

Health systems strengthening, universal health coverage, health security and resilience.

Monitoring financial protection in the SDGs

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