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Prioritizing Universal Health Coverage

Hospital Waiting Room

This blog post is part of a series by the authors of the recent report, “Universal Health Coverage: A Commitment to Close the Gap.” The report — a collaborative effort from The Rockefeller Foundation, Save the Children, UNICEF, and WHO — focuses on how and why inequity should be prioritized as countries progress on the path towards UHC.

Today is an important day for global health. Together with UNICEF, WHO, and Save the Children, The Rockefeller Foundation is formally launching Universal Health Coverage: A Commitment to Close the Gap, a report that serves to reframe the focus of universal health coverage (UHC) so that equity is the lens through which all future efforts towards achieving UHC are viewed.

Since 2008, The Rockefeller Foundation has invested more than $100 million  to accelerate progress ofUHC globally. Over the last few years, we have focused on the importance and necessity of looking at equity within UHC implicitly. With the launching of this report, we aim to make the implicit explicit.

Equity is the central objective of UHC. Equity is a necessary consideration in any approach to achieve UHC. And equity can be used a useful indicator for measuring progress toward UHC. Many of you might wonder what we mean by “universal health coverage,” and so again let me be explicit – according to the2010 WHO World Health Report, UHC means that “All [and this really means all people regardless of race, gender, age, class, religion or sexual orientation] people can access the health services they need without incurring financial hardship.”

This report comes at a crucial time for the global community as leaders everywhere, across sectors, take the week to think about future development goals. Where health is concerned, this report clearly makes the case for UHC as the umbrella goal for the health sector’s specific contribution to the post-2015 development framework.

Universal Health Coverage: A Commitment to Close the Gap is the collaborative product of four institutions that are committed to embedding the results within their institutions. Over the next few days and weeks, we will hear from some of the authors in a series of blog posts that will begin to unpack the report in greater detail. Lara Brearley, from Save the Children, will look at how and why equity should be prioritized as countries progress on the path towards UHC; Rodrigo Moreno-Serra, from Imperial College, will highlight the exciting new research coming out of the report; and Robert Marten, my Rockefeller Foundation colleague, will examine the implications for the post-2015 development agenda. We hope you’ll follow along as we take a deeper look at health inequity and the importance of making its eradication a priority as countries progress toward UHC.

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