Quality, affordable health care is the foundation for individuals to lead productive and fulfilling lives and for countries to have strong economies. Universal health coverage (UHC) is about ensuring that people have access to the health care they need without suffering financial hardship. It also helps drive better health and development outcomes.
In recent years, the UHC movement has gained global momentum, with the World Health Assembly and the United Nations General Assembly calling on countries to “urgently and significantly scale up efforts to accelerate the transition towards universal access to affordable and quality healthcare services.”
UHC is key to achieving the World Bank Group’s (WBG) twin goals of ending extreme poverty and increasing equity and shared prosperity. It is also an essential part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 3 includes a target to “achieve universal health coverage (UHC), including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services, and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.” SDG 1, with the goal to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, is also in peril without UHC, as hundreds of millions of people are impoverished by healthcare costs every year.
Today, most low- and middle-income countries are designing and implementing strategies that are accelerating progress toward UHC. The WBG is committed to helping governments achieve UHC by 2030. While the path to UHC is specific to each country, the WBG’s aim is to support countries to build healthier, more equitable societies, as well as to improve their fiscal performance and country competitiveness. The WBG does this through global, regional, and country-level research and knowledge generation, financial investments and technical assistance, and global convenings.
Last Updated: Jan 19, 2018