World Health Day this year is focused on universal health coverage (UHC) and the urgent need for #HealthforAll. Taking place on April 7, it’s an opportune time to call on world leaders to commit to concrete steps to work towards and support financing for UHC. Many countries have made great strides towards UHC, but it’s not still enough.
When the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in 2015, 193 countries committed to ensuring that UHC would be achieved by 2030. This means that all people can access the quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship. Investing in UHC, a key driver of human development and sustainable, inclusive economic growth, can transform the health and well-being of individuals and communities.
Yet with less than 12 years to go before hitting the target date, more than half of the world’s population still does not have access to essential, quality health services, according to recent research by the World Bank Group and the World Health Organization (WHO), while 100 million are pushed into extreme poverty every year because of health expenses. In addition, 800 million people spend at least 10 percent or more of their household budget on health care expenses, sometimes forced to pick between health and other vital family expenses.
This lag in progress is partly the result of a latent crisis in health financing. Public investments in health remain inadequate and in many cases financing is also inefficient and inequitable. Health financing innovations are also often lacking. This lag comes at a high price. It not only impedes progress towards the SDGs on health, but also holds back progress on the central SDG goal of ending poverty by 2030.
A high-level public event will focus on this crisis in health financing later this month. The flagship event, co-hosted in partnership with the Government of Japan and the WHO, will look at how countries are pursuing reforms and investments, building political commitment and going beyond business as usual to ensure that all people receive needed quality health services without financial hardship. Part of the World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings 2018, the event aims to drive sustained country and global commitment to attain UHC by 2030.
Join us for Towards Universal Health Coverage: Tackling the Health Financing Crisis to End Poverty, which will be held on Friday, April 20, 2018, 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm at the World Bank Group’s headquarters in Washington DC and available streaming in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic.