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The Road to Universal Health Coverage: How to Avoid Fiscal Breakdown

October 7, 2015

A new World Bank Group report, Going Universal, highlights policies implemented by 24 developing countries as part of the growing global movement toward universal health coverage (UHC). The goal of UHC is to ensure that all people obtain the quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them.

Many countries have made significant progress towards UHC without encountering fiscal difficulties. Mitigating the fiscal risk requires setting clear priorities for the use of subsidies, setting realistic targets commensurate with available funds, and using additional funds in ways that make existing expenditures in health care more efficient. Where this risk has been managed well, the returns on investment include not only achieving a more inclusive and efficient health system, but also laying the foundation for a stronger economy and a more robust jobs market.

This videotaped session, held at the World Bank Group-IMF Annual Meetings in Peru on Oct. 7, 2015, explored how countries can effectively 1) prioritize fiscal subsidies for the poorest and most vulnerable populations, 2) expand health coverage to the non-poor working in the informal sector, and 3) leverage and maximize their expenditures to drive better health and growth.