Health financing for universal coverage

Approaching health financing policy in the European Region

Fifty-sixth session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, EUR/RC56/BD/1


This paper has been developed as a follow-up to the launch of the European health systems initiative by the fifty-fifth session of the Regional Committee (resolution EUR/RC55/R8).

The aim of this background paper is to elaborate an approach to health financing policy that countries can adapt to their own national context. This entails:

  • specification of a set of health finance policy objectives, grounded in WHO’s core values;
  • a conceptual framework for analysing the organization and functions of the health financing system; and
  • recognition of the way in which key contextual factors, particularly fiscal constraints, affect a country’s ability to attain policy objectives or implement certain types of reforms.

Because of the great diversity of national contexts within the Region, there is no “blueprint” – no particular model or system of financing – that is appropriate for all countries. Hence, while the approach is fundamentally grounded in a common set of values and objectives, it permits analysis and recommendations that are country-specific and realistic. Key messages for decision-makers are to identify and address the harmful consequences of fragmentation in financing arrangements, and to ensure that the instruments of health financing policy are consistently aligned with the objectives.

This document is presented for a technical briefing session during the fifty-sixth session of the Regional Committee, and will be finalized afterwards to incorporate contributions made by the Member States during the discussion.

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