New WHO and World Bank Group report monitoring universal health coverage

A World Health Organization and World Bank Group report launched on 12 June shows that 400 million people do not have access to essential health services and 6% of people in low- and middle-income countries are tipped into or pushed further into extreme poverty because of health spending.

The report, Tracking Universal Health Coverage, is the first of its kind to measure health service coverage and financial protection to assess countries’ progress towards universal health coverage (UHC). Implementing UHC is a Target within the proposed post-2015 Development Goals.

A commitment to equity is at the heart of UHC. As more countries make commitments to universal health coverage, one of the major challenges they face is how to track progress.

Public Forum at WCDRR:
Protecting People’s HEALTH from Disaster Risks


The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) was held from 14 to 18 March 2015 in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. Countries from around the world met to review and update the Hyogo Framework for Action, endorsed in 2005 at the Second World Conference held in Kobe. Health issues and strategies to protect the health of people in disasters are much more important in the revised framework. During the Conference, events were organized for the general public, including symposiums and exhibitions on themes related to health and disaster risk reduction and management.

On March 17, WHO, UNAIDS, UNFPA, and UNISDR co-organized a public forum “PROTECTING PEOPLE’S HEALTH FROM DISASTER RISKS”. Over 30 speakers from all over the world and from the fields of disaster prevention, public health, medicine, and more discussed comprehensive disaster risk reduction and management for health. The full day Forum had 7 sessions covering many topics in health emergency management.

WKC Forum: Creating resilient society and community for ageing populations in disaster situations, 20 February 2015

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, the WHO Kobe Centre, in collaboration with the University of Hyogo, organized an open public forum on “Creating resilient society and community for ageing populations in disaster situations” in Kobe on 20 February 2015. A diverse audience of 43 persons participated in the event from local government, universities, health professionals and the public.

In the Forum, five experts presented their knowledge, research outcomes, and suggestions from various perspectives including nursing and disaster management, social welfare for older populations, psychology, and community healthcare to explore major components of resilient society/community with ageing population. The presentations were based on the experts’ experiences and interaction with older populations.

Japan has the largest proportion of older adults in the world. As a result, aged populations were much more affected, and accounted for more than half of the victims in the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake and in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

Intersectoral Action for Health (ISA)

Intersectoral action for health (ISA) refers to the inclusion of several sectors in addition to the health sector when designing and implementing public policies to improve quality of life. To promote ISA, WKC developed a guidance booklet titled “Intersectoral Action on Health, a path for policy-makers to implement effective and sustainable action on health” in 2011 and have since documented ISA experiences through case studies. The guidance booklet is now in preparation for revision.

In May 2014, WKC held the Expert Consultation to collectively review and develop recommendations for the revision of the guidance booklet. The meeting report highlights recent global developments and experiences in ISA and a synthesis of the recommendations for the revision of the booklet.

In addition, new recent publications on ISA case studies in local governments conducted by WKC have been published. The findings provide valuable insight into the common challenges and success factors for local governments to mobilize ISA for better health outcomes.

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