Health financing

What is universal coverage?

Public financing for UHC - towards implementation: meeting report now available

Public financing for UHC - towards implementation: meeting report
Shutterstock, Ismail Sadiron

WHO has published a new report summarizing the key messages and way forward for the Collaborative Agenda on Fiscal Space, Public Financial Management and Health Financing based on the output from a meeting held from 31 October through 2 November 2018. This report provides an overview of some of the key practical issues countries face in implementing policies and reforms to institutionalize and sustain progress towards UHC through the reliance on public funds.

Strategic purchasing for UHC: now also in French

Strategic Purchasing for universal health coverage: key policy issues and questions

Strategic purchasing is one of the main principles guiding health financing reforms to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage. This document, available now in both English and French, outlines and frames five key policy issues that emerged from expert and practitioners’ discussions held at various meetings. These issues are critical for reforms to shift towards strategic purchasing and cover the following areas: governance, information management systems, benefit design; mixed provider payment systems; and managing alignment and dynamics.

Save the date: WHO 2018 symposium on health financing for UHC

Shutterstock, Shahid Khan

What does making progress in health financing, in support of UHC mean? How do countries know they're headed in the right direction? What political strategies facilitate progress? To address these questions, WHO’s Department of Health Systems Governance and Financing will host a one-day symposium on Health Financing for UHC on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 as a satellite session to the 5th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Liverpool.

Universal health coverage and health financing

Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people and communities 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:

  • Equity in access to health services - everyone who needs services should get them, not only those who can pay for them;
  • The quality of health services should be good enough to improve the health of those receiving services; and
  • 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.


UHC: lessons to guide country actions on health financing
The global push for universal health coverage