Health laws and universal health coverage

New resource: Law, regulation and strategizing for health

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WHO

October 2016 -- For the national health planning process, regulation represents a key means by which a government gives effect to its health policy preferences especially through the exercise of their law making powers. This new resource provides up-to-date and practical guidance about the role and impact of law and regulation on national health planning and strategizing for health.

Creating enabling legal environments for universal health coverage

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WHO

Laws are key enablers of universal health coverage (UHC). They are commonly used to assure social and economic objectives closely aligned with UHC (equity, quality, safety), to set the formal rules for the functioning of the health system and provide the means to implement UHC-related policies at a population level.

WHO's work on law and universal health coverage

Table explaining barriers and activities to achieve enabling legal environments for universal health coverage.
WHO

WHO’s work programme on law and universal health coverage supports countries to ensure that their existing or proposed legal, administrative and institutional settings enable and do not hinder the path towards UHC.

Health law library

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Find information about health laws and health law topics and about the health laws and legal frameworks used by WHO member states.

Practical guidance

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Get access to guidelines, case studies, research, lessons-learned, and other resources that aim to support the development of better health laws.


Effective health laws and legal frameworks provide the foundation for strong and resilient health systems.

Health laws and legal frameworks can help:

  • countries to attain important health goals (including universal health coverage);
  • support the effective operation of key health system functions and inputs (service provision, health workforce, medical products and technologies, financing, health information and governance);
  • manage and respond to risks to personal health and a country’s health security;
  • implement health policy;
  • apply international health agreements and development goals at country level; and
  • improve the governance of health service delivery, tackling challenges to service access and quality, by giving effect to rule of law principles of: legality, accessibility, pluralism, transparency and accountability.

Key references

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