2 December 2020

What is the state of commitment to universal health coverage (UHC) around the world? UHC2030 launches an important multi-stakeholder review on progress of commitments and action on UHC.

State of commitment to universal health coverage: synthesis, 2020

UHC is an urgent priority to end the current global health crisis and build a safer, healthier future. Are countries stepping up to this challenge?

One year after world leaders endorsed the most ambitious and comprehensive political declaration on health in history, UHC2030 has produced the first synthesis and country profiles of the state of commitments to universal health coverage (UHC).

The review is based on diverse stakeholder perspectives which reflect current country situations and asks a simple question: are governments taking action towards meeting their universal health coverage commitments? 

State of commitment to universal health coverage

The current state of UHC presents huge challenges. Findings show in many counties, poor and vulnerable groups are being further left behind, and inequities are widening due to the COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is also exposing and exacerbating weaknesses in health systems, showing that many governments neglected to invest in health, social safety nets and emergency preparedness when it really mattered: before a crisis struck.

Even countries with stronger health systems could have been better prepared for this emergency. There is still much to be done to ensure adequate support to front-line health workers, to meaningfully engage all stakeholders in decision-making and to ensure gender-equitable responses. Furthermore, many countries have not adopted measurable national targets, and public awareness of governments’ commitments remains limited.

This must change. "We call on all leaders and other stakeholders across society to take urgent action for health systems that protect everyone – now". These are the words from the UHC2030 co-chairs and the UHC Movement Political Advisory Panel.

We urge all partners of UHC2030 to use our review’s political messages and ask national political leaders in all 193 UN member states to take action on universal health coverage. Specifically, we call on all national political leaders to: 

  • Prioritize UHC to tackle and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, stop anxiety and rebuild trust.
  • Address the systemic inequities that are widening with COVID-19 by creating stronger social and financial safety nets and prioritizing equity.
  • Expand and strengthen UHC legislation and regulations, set clear targets, and communicate better.
  • Support, protect and care for health workers, and innovate to improve and maintain quality during emergencies.
  • Invest in public health and primary health care as a joint effort of health and finance ministers, and local governments.
  • Build partnerships through genuine civil society engagement.
  • Empower women, who are proving to be highly effective leaders in health emergencies.
  • Give UHC principles more weight in every crisis response and build emergency preparedness into all health system reforms.

Find the review here. Now more than ever, we need to come together, to ensure coherent action and to build trust and accountability by widening participation in health governance at all levels. Specific country profiles are also available on our UHC Data Portal for this purpose.

Read more 

State of commitment to universal health coverage: synthesis, 2020

Background to the State of commitment to UHC

UHC Data Portal: Country Profiles

Dear Leaders: Protect Everyone Video (2:30 mins)

Photo @WHO/Lisette Poole

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