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UHC Forward Blog

A Fusion of Factors: The Essential Nature of Research for Universal Health Coverage

Making the Case for Investment

Public health is expensive and financing it a hurdle in itself, but disproportionate focus on how to pay for better health systems prevents UHC proponents from learning how to create them in the first place.

As the global community works vigorously to make the world a better place by 2015, countries with a growing commitment to UHC are working to expand access to needed health services. Dubbed by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Dr. Margaret Chan as “the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer,” achieving UHC is no task for the faint of heart. But why? What challenges must be overcome to successfully implement UHC?

With insight provided by public health experts from across the globe, UHC Forward has set out to enumerate the factors essential to UHC.

UHC Forward will merge with the Joint Learning Network to make information on the global movement towards universal health coverage more accessible

Many countries are pursuing UHC to increase access to quality essential health care without financial hardship. For countries to achieve progress, it is critical that they have access to evidence about what works and how other countries are making progress.

To address this critical challenge, in July 2014 the Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage (JLN) and UHC Forward will merge web platforms and launch a new website under the JLN brand to serve as a one-stop portal for practical guides and tools that focus on the ‘how to’ of achieving UHC as well as information related to the global movement towards UHC.

Launching a Robust Global Knowledge Hub

The new web hub will bring together the best features of both sites to create a robust hub for UHC knowledge from around the globe.

A global UHC campaign launches: Health for All Post-2015

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.

Integrating the Primary Health Care and Universal Health Coverage movements – the time is now!

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.

Health 2015: A conversation with Davidson Gwatkin on Progressive Universalism

(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.

Tackling Fraud and Unofficial Payments within the NHIS

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.

WHO-World Bank seek input on draft framework for monitoring UHC

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.

Universal health coverage in Africa: where is civil society?

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.

Celebrate Solutions: Expanding Universal Health Coverage to Save Lives

(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.

Bangladesh Looks Back, Looks Ahead to UHC

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.