Lancet: Universal health coverage, global health security, and health promotion

4 December, 2021

Today's Lancet has an editorial on universal health coverage, introducing the Lancet Commission on synergies between UHC, global health security, and health promotion.

CITATION: Editorial | volume 398, issue 10316, p2051, december 04, 2021

Reinstating universal health coverage on the global agenda

The Lancet

Published: December 04, 2021 DOI:

As The Lancet goes to press, a World Health Assembly special session is underway on the need to adopt an international agreement on pandemic preparedness and response and establish a process for advancing negotiations. Encouragingly, the draft report of the working group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness for and Response to Health Emergencies recommended that the treaty consider “universal health coverage and health system strengthening and resilience, for example, primary health care, health workforce and social protection”. This mention appears to be one of the first times UHC has been raised in a space traditionally concerned with health security. However, so far, all signs suggest that this important perspective will be neglected in practice. Ensuring strong, resilient, and inclusive health systems must be meaningfully included in any future international agreement, and more research and guidance to effectively and pragmatically support these efforts must be a priority across countries, major donors, and health organisations...

The Lancet is playing a constructive part in bringing together global health security and UHC communities to create a productive discussion and align and integrate their policies. The Lancet Commission on synergies between UHC, global health security, and health promotion has been created to address the disconnect between these three pillars.


The editorial links to an article about the new Commission. Extrtacts below. Full text here:


Addressing the fragmentation of global health: the Lancet Commission on synergies between universal health coverage, health security, and health promotion Global health is fragmented. Many stakeholders pursue their own agenda while neglecting other important goals for global health...

WHO’s GPW shows that the organisation’s efforts can be subsumed under three strategic priorities: UHC (1 billion more people benefiting from UHC), health emergencies (1 billion more people better protected from health emergencies), and healthier populations (1 billion more people enjoying better health and wellbeing). WHO’s GPW underscores the importance of pursuing these priorities in an integrated way...

Inspired by WHO’s Maximizing Positive Synergies initiative, the Commission will find synergies between the three agendas...


UHC, global health security, and health promotion are in turn dependent on the availability and use of reliable health information.

Best wishes, Neil

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,