The Millennium Development Goals, due to expire next year, have defined an era of global health. Since their adoption in 2000, the global AIDS response has scaled up massively; childhood immunization has become the norm in most settings; and many more women can access the family planning and reproductive healthcare they need. The MDGs coincided with, and perhaps helped to usher, a “Golden Age” of global health funding, which supported hard work and innovation that saved millions of lives.
And yet, signals emerged that the rapid scaleup was leaving people behind. Health inequalities continued to grow, both within and across countries. Advances in child survival and maternal care left a concentration of deaths in the poorest regions, with persistent gaps in access.
With the recent 35th anniversary of the seminal 1978 Alma Ata declaration calling on the world to launch and sustain primary health care (PHC) as part of a comprehensive national health system, and the ongoing focus on universal health coverage (UHC) as a possible post-2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG), the question emerges of how these two parallel global movements can support each other to deliver on the ultimate goal of providing universal access to essential health services with financial protection.
Although both the PHC and UHC movements have been recognized as vitally important to health and human development, the goals of PHC and UHC activities have often worked independently of each other, and sometimes even in conflict.
(This blog is cross-posted from Results for Development): This is the second installment of “Health 2015,” a series of conversations with R4D experts helping to shape the dialogue around the post-2015 development agenda. The recent Global Health 2035 report published by the Lancet Commission that was covered in our last conversation with vaccine finance expert Helen Saxenian, also outlines a pro-poor pathway to achieving universal health coverage, termed ‘progressive universalism.’
Not all pathways to universal health coverage are created equal.
By Dr. Cynthia Bannerman, Deputy Director Quality Assurance, Ghana Health Service
(This blog is cross-posted from The Joint Learning Network with permission) - Fraud, abuse and unofficial payments are threats to the sustainability of health insurance schemes. Over the last two years, Ghana’s National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has recouped 18 Million Ghana Cedis ($7.4 Million USD) charged through fraudulent claims by service providers.
We know that fraud and abuse are not unique to Ghana, and can never be completely eliminated. However, interventions must be put in place to prevent and reduce their occurrence.
Monitoring Progress towards Universal Health Coverage at Country and Global Levels: A Framework
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank seek feedback on the proposed UHC monitoring framework from countries, development partners, civil society, academics, and other interested stakeholders. This feedback will inform the further development and refinement of a common framework for monitoring progress towards UHC at country and global levels.
In recent years, there has been a growing movement across the globe for universal health coverage (UHC) – ensuring that everyone who needs health services is able to get them, without undue financial hardship. This has led to a sharp increase in the demand for expertise, evidence, and measures of progress towards UHC and a push for UHC as one of the possible goals of the post-2015 development agenda.
A strong civil society is essential for realizing the lofty goal of achieving universal health coverage (UHC). While the ongoing global discussions around UHC have largely focused on the role of government and development partners in designing and implementing risk pooling mechanisms that have the potential to improve access to essential health services, there has been little discussion on the key role that local civil society organizations (CSOs) play to ensure various communities support UHC and hold governments accountable. Key global, regional and national stakeholders have endorsed UHC over the past 3 years. The UN General Assembly, World Bank Group, and WHO are among leading advocates for UHC as a plausible post-2015 goal, and a platform for sustainable development and poverty eradication by 2030.
(Crossposted from Women Deliver)
By: Dr. Jeanette Vega, Managing Director for Health, Rockefeller Foundation
In just over a year since the UN General Assembly passed a historic resolution on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), we have seen incredible momentum around the topic. UHC is fast becoming one of the most important and relevant issues in the global health sector, setting the stage for UHC’s prioritization in the post-2015 development agenda.
Now, global health leaders Jonathan Quick, Jonathan Jay, and Ana Langer have authored a new essay in PLoS Medicine that highlights the importance of Improving Women’s Health through Universal Health Coverage.
By: Nisma Elias
As we delve into 2014 and look to 2015 as a watershed moment for global development, it’s befitting to pause and take stock of how far we have come as an international community in achieving universal health goals. One country that has achieved milestones, if not miracles, is Bangladesh (and I do not just say that because it’s where I hail from). Home to over 150 million people living on a land mass smaller than the size of Iowa, Bangladesh has made huge strides in its global health indicators. Improvements in the survival of infants and children under 5 years of age, life expectancy, lowered fertility rates, immunization coverage, and tuberculosis control are a part of Bangladesh’s success story, especially as they have been achieved despite low spending on health care, a fragile health system, tethering political rule, and widespread poverty.
At a recent World Bank event on “Innovation for Universal Health Coverage” Dr. Mushtaque Chowdhury and Dr.
As the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) movement picks up pace around the globe and many countries face the tough challenges of implementing reforms to achieve UHC, the Joint Learning Network (JLN) has decided to expand its membership. This announcement comes after a meeting of the JLN Steering Group in Accra, Ghana, on November 6, 2013.
The planned expansion of the JLN is in response to a growing demand for practical knowledge from countries on the path to UHC, and an expressed desire by current JLN members to enrich the learning process by engaging with a wider and more diverse group of reformer countries.
The JLN seeks to produce new knowledge about how to implement UHC reforms that can be used by countries around the globe.
By Andrea B. Feigl and Eric L. Ding
While there is an increased focus on achieving universal health coverage among low and middle-income countries, empirical determinants of universal healthcare coverage are poorly understood. With the goal to study the economic, social, and political predictors of universal coverage, we systematically researched the common definition and dimensions of universal coverage and created a novel indicator that captures the most important UHC dimensions of legal coverage, universal access to services, and universal enrollment.
Utilizing and indicator that we termed Evidenced Formal Coverage (EFC), we determined that a country has achieved universal coverage if:
- Universal healthcare coverage is written into the country’s law
- At least 85% of the population is covered under the law