What is universal coverage?
This report is the first of its kind to measure health service coverage and financial protection to assess countries’ progress towards universal health coverage.
It shows that at least 400 million people do not have access to one or more essential health services and 6% of people in low- and middle-income countries are tipped into or pushed further into extreme poverty because of health spending.
Absolute levels of public funding are critical to UHC progress; however, health systems vary significantly in what they achieve for a given level of spending. Whilst a range of non-health system factors influence a country’s performance, this analysis demonstrates the importance of focusing not only on raising more revenues for health, but also on ensuring available funds are spent efficiently.
The health financing country diagnostic provides step-by-step guidance on how to undertake a situation analysis of a country’s health financing system. This guide to conducting a diagnostic considers a number of issues including the current of level, mix and sources of funding for the health sector and institutional arrangements for health financing. It also assesses the performance of the system against the objectives and goals of universal health coverage (UHC).
Universal health coverage and health financing
Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people 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.
This definition of UHC embodies three related objectives:
1. Equity in access to health services - everyone who needs services should get them, not only those who can pay for them;
2. The quality of health services should be good enough to improve the health of those receiving services; and
3. People should be protected against financial-risk, ensuring that the cost of using services does not put people at risk of financial harm.
UHC is firmly based on the WHO constitution of 1948 declaring health a fundamental human right and on the Health for All agenda set by the Alma Ata declaration in 1978. UHC cuts across all of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and brings hope of better health and protection for the world’s poorest.
Resolutions and strategies
Quick facts on universal coverage
- Health in 2015: from MDGs to SDGs
- Raising revenues for health in support of UHC: strategic issues for policy makers
Sustainable health financing structures and universal coverage
- Making UHC progress through efficiency gains
- Reforms for improving the efficiency of health systems: lessons from 10 country cases