5 September 2018

On 4 September 2018, 22 countries and territories signed the UHC2030 Global Compact to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage (UHC), marking a significant moment for UHC.

Outstanding regional political commitment for UHC in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region


Ministers of health and heads of delegations from all 22 countries and territories signed the Global Compact during the ‘Ministerial meeting on the road towards universal health coverage’ in Salalah, Oman from 3-5 September 2018.

“We invited countries of the Region to sign the Global Compact jointly as a sign of regional commitment and solidarity towards UHC. Political will and commitment are essential to secure and sustain investment in health and drive appropriate health systems reforms,” said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO’s Regional Director for EMRO.

The signing of the UHC2030 Global Compact demonstrates the extent of high level commitment to take action to make progress towards UHC by all countries of the Region. It means that signatories and their governments have committed to working together effectively to accelerate progress towards UHC through building equitable, resilient and sustainable health systems and agreed to a set of key principles to guide their action.

These are:

  • - Leaving no one behind: a commitment to equity, non-discrimination and a rights-based approach
  • - Transparency and accountability for results
  • - Evidence-based national health strategies and leadership, with government stewardship to ensure availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of service delivery
  • - Making health systems everybody’s business – with engagement of citizens, communities, civil society and private sector
  • - International cooperation based on mutual learning across countries, regardless of development status and progress in achieving and sustaining UHC and development effectiveness principles

 In a recorded message to the meeting, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director-General, declared that UHC was WHO’s top priority, considering UHC and health security as two sides of the same coin. “Strong health systems, built on the foundation of people-centred primary care, are the best investment in reducing inequalities, and the best defence against the impact of emergencies,” the Director-General said.

During technical sessions, participants were briefed on a World Bank analysis of UHC reforms in over 40 countries with a total of 2.6 billion people. Among the lessons that emerged was that all countries regardless of their income status can and should move towards UHC. “A country does not need to be rich to start moving towards UHC,” said Dr Fernando Montenegro Torres, a senior health economist at the World Bank.

UHC2030 warmly welcomes the countries of the EMRO region to the partnership and looks forward to sharing experiences and knowledge around building equitable, resilient and sustainable health systems in order to achieve UHC.

Read the full media brief about the event here.

The countries and territories that signed the UHC2030 Global Compact to accelerate progress towards UHC are: 





Islamic Republic of Iran









Occupied Palestinian territory


Saudi Arabia



Syrian Arab Republic


United Arab Emirates


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