Universal health coverage (UHC) is about ensuring all people and communities have access to quality health services where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship. It includes the full spectrum of services needed throughout life—from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care—and is best based on a strong primary health care system.
Over the past decade, countries in the WHO Western Pacific Region have made significant health gains and increased commitments to advance UHC. The Regional Committee of the Western Pacific has agreed that countries should develop UHC roadmaps based on 5 attributes of high-performing health systems: quality, efficiency, equity, accountability, sustainability and resilience.
Achieving UHC is one of the key targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and it is the focus of World Health Day in 2019.
This campaign aims to help people better understand what universal health coverage means – what services and support should be available and where. We will provide visual material that helps people who have access to quality, affordable health care to understand what life is like for people without it and to advocate for equal access to care, everywhere.
Health workers will have an important role to play in the campaign, helping decision-makers for health recognize what people need in terms of care, particularly at the primary care level.
The campaign also presents an opportunity for ministers of health and other government decision-makers to commit to taking action to address gaps in universal health coverage in their countries, as well as to highlight progress that has already been made.
World Health Day 2019 falls midway between the Global Conference on Primary Health Care held in Astana, Kazakhstan in October 2018 and the High-level Meeting on universal health coverage to be held at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019. The Day is one of many opportunities to communicate about the importance of equity in health-care services, for not only the health of individuals, but also for the health of economies and society at large.