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Universal Health Coverage

Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people have access to necessary health care regardless of their ability to pay and without facing financial hardship.

Universal health coverage is essential to ensuring social protection, achieving equitable development, and protecting the right to health. The commitment to UHC is grounded in the view that no person should develop, suffer, or die from a preventable or treatable condition because of a lack of resources, and treatment should not lead to financial hardship. Currently about half the people in the world do not receive the health services they need and over 100 million people fall into extreme poverty each year because of out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.

Charter for Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Universal Health Coverage (UHC Charter)

Universal health coverage — all people have access to necessary healthcare regardless of their ability to pay and without facing financial hardship — is essential to achieving equitable development and making the right to health effective. More than 100 countries worldwide claim to have taken steps toward UHC, and in September of 2015 world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which includes a target to achieve universal health coverage for all by 2030.

Considering the importance of UHC is essential for human and economic development. There is a wealth of experience through several decades across a wide range of countries showing, in some cases, promising practices and in others serious pitfalls on the path to UHC. Consequently, the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization endeavored to synthesize the available knowledge and experience into a set of lessons and guiding principles in a concise and accessible manner to pursue it. We envisioned producing a UHC Charter that would distill the relevant experiences, analysis and pertinent lessons into a set of basic principles or precepts that should guide UHC policies.

With this objective in mind, and based on the rich available literature as well as consultations with reputable experts, a number of topics inherent to UHC were identified. Subsequently certain experts were asked to prepare briefing documents on each of the critical topics. With these valuable materials a very small drafting team was put in place to produce this preliminary version of the Charter for Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Health Coverage. Read the UHC Charter draft here (PDF — opens in new window).

Expert Papers

Because there is no blueprint for equitable, inclusive and sustainable UHC that will be valid for every country, our tactic was to ask selected authors to distill relevant experience, analysis, and pertinent lessons related to each topical area to address what we think are the key aspects of UHC policies. These constitute our Expert Papers and will be listed here soon.

Economists’ Declaration on UHC

A declaration in support of UHC by Larry Summers on behalf of 267 economists from 44 countries. Read the Summers Declaration on UHC (PDF — opens in new window)