Health financing for universal coverage

Global strategy and partner agencies

The growing momentum behind universal coverage (UC), or universal health coverage (UHC), both in countries and among the international community has recently materialized in a variety of actions, reforms and activities.

Growing focus upon universal health coverage

International organizations working in health have been making universal coverage an important focus of their work. WHO's World health report 2010 (WHR 2010) for example built on a considerable body of earlier work by many agencies, organizations and individuals. WHO is thus not the only agency that espouses UC, nor the only agency supporting countries to modify their health financing and health systems in search of UC.

The World Bank (WB) and the regional development banks also work with countries on their health financing systems, for example, often as part of broader development agendas. Many bilateral aid agencies and civil society organizations have made health systems financing a feature of their technical and financial support in recent years.

The Providing for Health Initiative (P4H) is a global health partnership aiming at improving social health protection and strengthening health financing systems to promote universal coverage in low and middle-income countries. To date the P4H network includes Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain, ILO, WHO, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

The Providing for Health (P4H) initiative

Providing for Health (P4H) is a global health partnership launched in 2007 during the G8 summit in Germany, aimed at improving social health protection and strengthening health financing systems to promote universal coverage in low and middle-income countries, with particular focus on ensuring inclusion for the poor. P4H operates through an open network of partners, to date the network includes Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain, ILO, WHO, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

The launch of P4H was an important landmark for promoting coordinated responses by external partners to accelerate countries’ transitions to universal coverage. P4H does not promote any specific standardized model to promote these aims, recognizing that options need to be developed within the particular macroeconomic, sociocultural and political context of each country.

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