A movement towards universal health coverage (UHC) – ensuring that everyone who needs health services is able to get them, without undue financial hardship – has been growing across the globe (1). This has led to a sharp increase in the demand for expertise, evidence and measures of progress and a push to make UHC one of the goals of the post-2015 development agenda (2). This paper proposes a framework for tracking country and global progress towards UHC; its aim is to inform and guide these discussions and assessment of both aggregate and equitable coverage of essential health services as well as financial protection. Monitoring progress towards these two components of UHC will be complementary and critical to achieving desirable health outcome goals, such as ending preventable deaths and promoting healthy life expectancy and also reducing poverty and protecting household incomes.
This paper was written jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and The World Bank Group on the basis of consultations and discussions with country representatives, technical experts and global health and development partners (3). A draft of this paper was posted online and circulated widely for consultation between December 2013 and February 2014. Nearly 70 submissions were received from countries, development partners, civil society, academics and other interested stakeholders. The feedback was synthesized and reviewed at a meeting of country and global experts in Bellagio, Italy, in March 2014 (4). The paper was modified to reflect the views emerging from these consultations.