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Transforming Health Systems

Building strong health systems and advancing universal health coverage

While health spending has increased dramatically around the world, access to quality health services—without the risk of financial hardship—has lagged. And although health systems increasingly serve as buffers between vulnerable communities and crises, many countries still lack the capacity to meet daily health needs, let alone anticipate, address, and recover from health shocks down the line.


Our Strategy

Launched in 2009, The Rockefeller Foundation’s Transforming Health Systems (THS) initiative, aimed to catalyze innovations and actions that create broader access to affordable, quality health services in developing countries and help contribute to greater resilience.

Advancing Universal Health Coverage 

THS focused on universal health coverage (UHC)—providing all people with access to the health services they need without the risk of financial hardship often caused by reducing out-of-pocket expenses. More than 150 million individuals worldwide face catastrophic healthcare expenditures, and more than 25 million families descend into poverty each year as a result.

Under THS, our UHC work focused on four goals:

  • Elevating UHC as a primary health goal in the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Empowering practitioners and policymakers at the country and regional levels to facilitate knowledge sharing and joint problem solving,
  • Improving health information systems through better use of eHealth platforms, and
  • Creating greater equity in access to care and treatment

Key successes included the adoption of a UN resolution by more than 90 countries to encourage countries to build health systems that can treat all citizens, regardless of income, location, and gender. This resolution—and our continued advocacy—contributed to positioning UHC as a key health goal for the SDGs. THS also supported the launch of the Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage, a community of practice owned by the countries themselves. The Network includes more than 20 member countries to address multiple challenges associated with achieving UHC.

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