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UHC with an African lens

Universal health coverage (UHC) is raised and discussed all over. At any global health event, Ministry of Health speeches and in the title of articles, reports and research. The concept is moving the public health agenda just as HIV/Aids did a decade ago. However, this momentum does not mean everybody has the same understanding of UHC, specially at community or CSO level where people are used to working and thinking according to diseases and with health policies often defined without their input.

This is the primary reason that the Ghana Universal Access to Healthcare campaign is putting together some examples and explanations to help African constituencies better understand the concept and be better skilled to take part in the global and national discussions around UHC's implementation and the post 2015 framework. Acknowledging the challenges, this document tries to build a common understanding of UHC to ensure more meaningful participation of CSOs in the struggle for the right to health.

The result is a briefing paper, which uses examples including Sierra Leona, Zambia or Ghana, to answer questions such as: "Is UHC simply about abolishing user fees and how can this lead to health care accessibility in rural areas?" or "If UHC is a post-2015 goal, will unfinished MDGs be neglected?"

Some examples from Africa

In Ghana, an overview of the Mutual Health Insurance Scheme in the Akatsi District showed improvement in health services utilization in both the public and private sector, with an estimated additional 50,742 people having access to health care services between 2006 and 2009.

A year after the inception of Free Health Care in Sierra Leone, reports show a 150% improvement in maternal complications managed at health facilities, a 61% reduction in maternal mortality rate, a 214% increase in medical care for children under five and a 90% decrease in fatality due to malaria.

Utilization of rural health facilities is estimated to have increased by 55% over the 12 months following the removal of user fees in 2006 in Zambia.

Click here to download the Ghana Universal Access to Healthcare Campaign's UHC Brief.

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