Lancet: Ensuring and measuring universality in Universal Health Coverage

4 January, 2019

Dear HIFA colleagues,

HIFA Country Representative Didier Demassosso (Cameroon) in his message to HIFA on New Year's Day said "health information which includes healthcare information lay and professional is a prerequisite for Universal Health Coverage". At the HIFA Steering Group's most recent meeting we emphasised this point and in 2019 we shall be doing more to position the availability and use of healthcare information within the context of UHC and the SDGs. Implementation of the Astana Declaration will be a key component.

This week's Lancet carries an editorial which concludes 'UN member states, the global health community, and other stakeholders must work together to seize the opportunity to make 2019 the year of UHC'. HIFA looks forward to contributing to this effort. The editorial also refers to how progress towards UHC will be measured:

'How will WHO's commitment to 1 billion more people benefitting from UHC be measured? That answer was revealed last month in a proposed WHO Impact Framework, to be considered at the agency's forthcoming Executive Board Meeting. The crucial metric will be a UHC Index. This Index will measure service coverage and financial hardship. Service coverage will focus on 39 tracer indicators categorised according to type of care (eg, promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliation) and age. The Index will measure quality by estimating effective coverage. These tracer indicators will be combined into an overall metric for UHC. Financial hardship through catastrophic or impoverishing payments will also be calculated—further work is planned to define the level at which hardship is estimated (eg, 10% of total household expenditure spent on health care in a given year). A reliable Impact Framework will be essential to deliver accountability for WHO's ambitious promise.

'UHC is the cornerstone of good health and wellbeing for all. Ensuring true universality of coverage relies on developing specific country-level policies that meet the needs of all, including women, adolescents, and vulnerable populations. Without doing so, the September high-level meeting on UHC will fail and even risks hindering global progress toward achieving the SDGs.'


Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Astana Declaration + Project

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: /