Health financing for universal coverage

Health financing for universal coverage

Universal coverage, or universal health coverage, is defined as ensuring 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.

fact buffet


100million people pushed into poverty because of direct health payments

10 facts on universal health coverage

Access to services

49%of births attended by a skilled health worker in the African region

World health statistics 2013

Increase priority given to health

70countries devote less than 10% of general government expenditure to health

Global Health Expenditure Database

News and Events

Francophone Flagship Course on Universal Health Coverage

20-24 April 2015, Dakar, Sénégal

WHO and the World Bank are hosting a training course on Universal Health Coverage for francophone countries (in French)

Second Advanced Course on Health Financing for Universal Coverage for Low and Middle Income Countries

Barcelona, 8-12 June 2015

Applications for this course are now closed.

Meeting on Improving health system efficiency and strengthening primary health care (PHC)

Oxford, 16-18 December 2014

WHO and Oxford University jointly hosted a conference to discuss health system efficiency and strengthening Primary Health Care (PHC)

Meeting to develop inter-agency work agenda on fiscal space, public finance management and health financing policy

9-11 December 2014, Montreux, Switzerland

WHO convened a meeting of public finance and health financing policy experts from Ministries of Finance and Ministries of Health in low and middle income countries (Africa, Asia and Europe), international agencies and other technical experts including from civil society, to agree on a collaborative agenda for future work in support of UHC. The meeting looked at how government health budgets, the largest single element of public funding, can be both increased and better spent to drive health system performance. A collaborative agenda for future work with specific products and timelines was agreed.

First Advanced Course on Health Financing for Universal Coverage conducted in Tunis

The first World Health Organization Advanced Course on Health Financing for Universal Coverage took place in Tunis, Tunisia from 16-20 June 2014. A total of 55 participants from 27 countries came together for this one-week-long training course to discuss how health financing policy can be used to improve health system performance in support of the goals of universal health coverage. The course focused specifically on the context of low and middle income countries and complements the Barcelona Course on Health Financing which focuses on the WHO European Region.

WHO/World Bank ministerial meeting on universal health coverage

Top officials from health and finance ministries from 27 countries joined other high-level health and development stakeholders at a two-day meeting, 18-19 February 2013, in Geneva to discuss ways that countries are progressing towards universal health coverage.

The 67th General Assembly of the United Nations Encourages Member States to Plan, Pursue Transition of National Health Care Systems towards Universal Coverage

Conference of Ministers of Finance and Health: Value for Money, Sustainability and Accountability in the Health Sector, Tunis 4-5 July, 2012

International focus on universal coverage

WHO staff in discussion

WHO’s work on universal coverage is part of an increased international consensus on the need to accelerate progress towards universal coverage through concrete actions and reforms as underlined in the Bangkok Statement on Universal Health Coverage and the Mexico City Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage