World celebrates first Universal Health Coverage day
Health Budget Advocacy
Health Care Financing
The world celebrates its first Universal Health Coverage day. 12 December 2014 marked a series of marches, campaign launches, and conferences by more than 500 civil society organisations, universities, and development agencies from more than 100 countries.
What is UHC?
Activists collectively called on governments to make sure all people are able to use the quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship paying for them. Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is a hot topic in health – not only did a UN Resolution endorse the concept of UHC exactly 2 years ago, but it is also part of the draft Sustainable Development Goals(Target 3.9). We recommend this recent article by economist and philosopher Amartya Sen, who argues that UHC is affordable even in poor countries.
UHC and health budget advocacy
UHC should be of great interest to our members as achieving it relies on increased levels of government financing for health, as well as more efficient public spending for health. Without this, the poorest will be excluded from coverage. Framing health budget advocacy under the banner of UHC might help bring together different groups of supporters and make governments and donors more responsive.
UHC in Africa
In Africa, many countries have already taken steps towards Universal Health Coverage by launching national social insurance schemes. However these vary in terms of how equitable they are – Kenya’s scheme mostly covers formal sector employees while Nigeria’s scheme only covers about 3% of the population. Only Ghana and Mali’s schemes are mainly financed through Government Revenues, with others financed through member contributions or payroll taxes.
If you are interested in linking up with others on this issue, this article highlights some advocacy efforts in support of UHC in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, and Malawi.