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BRIEF November 15, 2021

World Bank Studies COVID Impact on UHC


Health staff prick the fingers of two men for blood in a rapid antibody testing for COVID-19 in the Philippines.

Progress toward Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has not been smooth sailing at the best of times for many countries in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region. With COVID-19 overwhelming their health systems, disrupting routine health service delivery, and hampering access to services, policy makers might understandably be preoccupied with COVID response and vaccination. But it must not be forgotten that now is the time to make extra efforts to ensure that any advances they have made toward UHC are not rolled back.

Thus, the . This analytical work program is located within the regional knowledge generation efforts of the Advance UHC Multi-Donor Trust Fund and is being undertaken over a three-year period, from mid-2021 to mid-2024. It will help countries craft appropriate policies and implement strategies to preserve and sustain their progress toward UHC in the face of the pandemic.

"The goal of the research is to identify medium-term actions to advance UHC in the time of COVID-19."

At the same time, . This includes strengthened immunization programs, improved diagnostics for communicable diseases, and improved capacity for management of noncommunicable diseases which account for a large share of disease burden in many EAP countries. Furthermore, COVID-19 could spur the adoption of new technologies such as e-health in urban areas and build system capacity through improved surveillance mechanisms.

The study will engage policymakers from EAP countries from the outset and draw insights from their responses to the pandemic to see how it has affected the provision of non-COVID essential health services, what policy responses were adopted to protect financing and service delivery for UHC, and what recommendations can be made for building more resilient and inclusive health systems to achieve UHC. The goal of the research is to identify medium-term actions to advance UHC in the time of COVID-19. It proposes to do this by pairing analytics with follow-on technical assistance to integrate findings into policies and responses.