Universal Health Coverage

Universal health coverage (also called universal healthcare) is a health care system that provides health care and financial protection to all residents of a particular country or region. It is organized around providing specified packages of benefits to all members of a society aiming at providing financial risk protection, improved access to health services, and improved health outcomes.[1]

What is UHC?[2]

UHC means that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. It includes the full spectrum of essential, quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.

UHC enables everyone to access the services that address the most significant causes of disease and death, and ensures that the quality of those services is good enough to improve the health of the people who receive them.

Universal health coverage and health financing[3]

Universal health coverage means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.

This definition of UHC embodies three related objectives:

  1. Equity in access to health services - everyone who needs services should get them, not only those who can pay for them;
  2. The quality of health services should be good enough to improve the health of those receiving services; and
  3. People should be protected against financial-risk, ensuring that the cost of using services does not put people at risk of financial harm.

UHC is firmly based on the WHO constitution of 1948 declaring health a fundamental human right and on the Health for All agenda set by the Alma Ata declaration in 1978. UHC cuts across all of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and brings hope of better health and protection for the world’s poorest.

See also: DCPP, DCP3, EUHC

1. Wikipedia - Universal health care, visited 2019-09-12
3. WHO - What is Universal coverage?, visited 2020-01-21