Health financing for universal coverage

Launch of the WHO Health Financing Technical Network

Smiling kinds, Philippines.
WHO/M Jowett

16 February 2017 – Following the launch of the WHO Health Financing Technical Network during the recent universal health coverage (UHC) Day event, WHO has launched its online community focused on health financing policy for UHC. This global network, previously based around sub-communities of those attending training courses, or workshops, is now open to all those interested in and working on health financing policy.

Public financial management

Ministry of Finance, Republic of Tajikistan, Dushanbe 2009.
WHO/B Mathivet

February 2017 – 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.

WHO Advanced Course on Health Financing for Universal Coverage for low and middle income countries


2 February 2017 – WHO is pleased to announce that its fourth Advanced Course on Health Financing for Universal Coverage for Low and Middle Income Countries will take place between 12-16 June 2017, in Barcelona, Spain. Applications are now being accepted through our online form and close on Thursday 2 March 2017 at midnight (Geneva time). This is an advanced course and accepted applicants will have extensive, relevant work experience and knowledge of health financing policy, and previous training in health systems and policy.

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.

Spending targets: no magic number

Look at our new infographic on spending targets highlighting that in some low-and middle-income countries, good performance on UHC is happening with low spending; and poor performance on UHC is happening with relatively high spending. Whilst increasing public spending in health is central to move towards universal health coverage, even at low spending levels countries can make progress.

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

Data availability to monitor SDG indicator 3.8.2

Measuring health service coverage and financial protection to assess countries’ progress towards UHC.

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.