Providing for Health

UHC or SHP? Definitions and concepts

Social Health Protection (SHP) is defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as a series of public or publicly organized and mandated private measures against social distress and economic loss caused by the reduction of productivity, stoppage or reduction of earnings, or the cost of necessary treatment that can result from ill health. The objective of SHP relates to universal access to affordable and available quality care and financial protection in case of ill health. Thus, all residents should have the necessary financial protection to access at least a nationally defined set of essential health care including maternal health care that meets the criteria of availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality.

Universal Coverage, or Universal Health Coverage (UHC), is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as ensuring that all people can use the promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative 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.

What does this mean for the joint work of the P4H network?

Convergence: the concepts of UHC and SHP are very close in that they both focus on guaranteeing essential health care to the whole population while at the same time protecting people from financial hardship due to the costs incurred in seeking that care. In practical terms, this means for the joint work of the P4H network: UHC and SHP are more or less interchangeable terms.

women writing
  • Social health protection
    Various organizations and institutions working in the field of social health protection (SHP) are offering different definitions of SPH. Hence, P4H partners see limited need for P4H to come up with its own new definition...
social health
  • Stakeholders
    The extension of social protection in health and the quest for universal coverage requires the involvement and commitment of a variety of actors

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Providing for Health
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