Making fair choices on the path to universal health coverage: Final report of the WHO Consultative Group on Equity and Universal Health Coverage – launched 1 May 2014
ISBN 978 92 4 150715 8
Extract from the Executive Summary:
“Universal health coverage (UHC) is defined as all people receiving quality health services that meet their needs without being exposed to financial hardship in paying for the services. Given resource constraints, this does not entail all possible services, but a comprehensive range of key services that is well aligned with other social goals. UHC was firmly endorsed by the World Health Assembly in 2005 and further supported in the World Health Report 2010. Since then, more than seventy countries have requested policy support and technical advice for UHC reform from the World Health Organization (WHO). In response, WHO developed a plan of action that included providing guidance on how countries can manage the central issues of fairness and equity that arise on the path to UHC. The WHO Consultative Group on Equity and Universal Health Coverage was set up to develop this guidance.
This document is the Consultative Group’s final report. The report addresses the key issues of fairness and equity by clarifying these issues and offering recommendations for how countries can manage them. The report is relevant for a wide range of actors and particularly for governments in charge of overseeing and guiding the progress toward UHC.
To achieve UHC, countries must advance in at least three dimensions. Countries must expand priority services, include more people, and reduce out-of-pocket payments. However, in each of these dimensions, countries are faced with a critical choice: Which services to expand first, whom to include first, and how to shift from out-of-pocket payment toward prepayment? A commitment to fairness—and the overlapping concern for equity—and a commitment to respecting individuals’ rights to health care must guide countries in making these choices. For fair progressive realization of UHC, the three critical choices and the trade-offs between the dimensions must be carefully addressed. ”