Currently, at least half of the world’s population does not have access to the health services they need, about 100 million people fall into extreme poverty each year because of excessive health spending and over 800 million people spend at least 10% of their household income on healthcare.
We are therefore committed to change this and help achieve the World Health Organization’s goal of reaching 1 billion more people benefitting from universal health coverage by 2023.
What it is
Universal health coverage (UHC) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as ensuring that all people have access to promotive, preventive, curative, and rehabilitative health services of quality, when and where they need them, without financial hardship.
Public health epidemics and pandemics, which have devastating social and economic consequences, demonstrate the importance of appropriately investing in UHC.
UHC is therefore grounded in the concept of equity and in the protection of the fundamental right to health.
The concept of UHC is highly intertwined with the one of health systems strengthening (HSS) and both are integrated in the targets of the 3rd sustainable development goal (SDG3).
What we do
EU Global Health Strategy
The well-being and lives of citizens, the prosperity and stability of societies and sustainable economies call for a global approach towards health. The EU Global Health Strategy, adopted in November 2022, represents a new way to address health challenges at the global level, in a changing world.
Strengthening health systems
When strengthening health systems in partner countries, we strive to also contribute to UHC in every way possible. For example, we support our partner countries in identifying qualitative and necessary health services, enhancing access to these services, and taking the necessary measures to ensure that seeking quality healthcare does not result in further impoverishment.
We do so through coordination, policy dialogue, and technical assistance, while always respecting and encouraging our partner countries’ ownership of their own health systems.
In this respect, health financing policies defined by our partner countries play a crucial role in laying down the path towards achieving UHC. In fact, these policies determine how available domestic and international resources are used to finance a given set of health services, and how payment for these services is shared between the State and the population.
We also actively participate in global initiatives supporting UHC. For example, the EU is part of the UHC Partnership and UHC2030.
The UHC Partnership supports policy dialogue in favour of UHC in 115 partner countries around the world. This broad and international group of health experts aims to bridge the gap between global commitments and implementation on the ground, hence serving as a country-level resource for UHC2030, the global movement to build stronger health systems for UHC.
UHC2030’s mission is to create a worldwide movement for accelerating equitable and sustainable progress towards UHC. As it recognises that achieving UHC requires coordinated efforts across multiple sectors, UHC2030 provides a multi-stakeholder platform that promotes collaboration at all levels to strengthen health systems, increased political commitment to UHC in all countries, and reinforced accountability and knowledge-sharing.