Strategic Planning and Innovation (SPI)

Towards universal coverage

Finding a way to overcome barriers
Finding a way to overcome barriers

Even when basic health services are available and affordable, difficult living conditions and socio-cultural obstacles prevent many people in need from accessing prevention, diagnosis and treatment for malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB. Barriers to access include distance (transportation and patients time costs), household food insecurity or poor access to water, and intangible factors (culture, gender and other types of discrimination, lack of information and education). This programme aims to provide options to address a broad range of factors and improve the availability, quality and uptake of health services.

Building a roadmap

SPI works closely with countries in designing a roadmap towards universal coverage of prevention and treatment for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. Assisting countries to address constraints for the provision of affordable and responsive health care for the most vulnerable amid shortages of resources is the key challenge for the programme.

Ownership is one of the principles in advancing that agenda forward. Critical for achieving universal coverage is government commitment to public and transparent processes involving users and providers alike. SPI envisions a pathway in which stakeholders engage collectively to reassess existing policies and practices, identify new solutions and participate in their design and implementation. By engaging stakeholders now and focusing on practical, solvable issues, progress can be rapid and robust.


To provide countries with options for progressing towards univeral coverage, SPI is developing scenarios to forecast the costs and impact of scaling up a combined package of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria interventions. Part of this scenario-building approach involves estimating the total cost for users to seek care and the impact of removing user fees for selected interventions. SPI is also engaged in developing a set of tools for countries to identify and implement "enablers" to facilitate the delivery and uptake of services. Both providers and users will be involved in the planning and implementation of these strategies.


This Programme is carried out in partnership with the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research of WHO, and in close collaboration with WHO Regional and Country Offices. It is supported by funds from the governments of Denmark, Italy and the UK.

External partners