The World Health Organization (WHO) is developping a...
Last week was the World Health Assembly, an annual gathering where the world’s health leaders take stock of progress to improve health and wellbeing, and set the global health agenda for the year ahead. This year’s assembly was particularly newsworthy because it included the election of a new Director-General to lead the World Health Organization—more on that later. For me, it stands out because it marked an inflection point in the movement to achieve universal health coverage.
For more than a century, the Foundation’s singular mission has been to promote the wellbeing of humanity throughout the world. We are focused particularly on poor and vulnerable communities, and on equity—which is why we have been such strong supporters of the global movement to deliver quality, affordable health coverage for all.
Much of the Foundation’s work in recent years, and the work of many of our partners, has been about getting universal health coverage on the global agenda. This included some noteworthy milestones, such as passing the UN Resolution on universal health coverage in 2012, securing the inclusion of UHC in the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 (with support from hundreds of leading economists and civil society leaders), and celebrating the first, second, and third UHC Day on December 12.
If the past five years have been about getting the world to agree that universal health coverage is the right goal, the next five will be about helping more people take concrete steps—at the community, national, and regional levels—to make it a reality. At this year’s World Health Assembly, we saw the global community come together in agreement that it’s time to do the hard work of ensuring that all people can access the health services they need without the risk of financial ruin.