Thomson Reuters Foundation: Universal Health Coverage: an affordable goal for all
Margaret Chan, director general of WHO, and Gro Harlem Brundtland, deputy chair of The Elders
"...Achieving [Universal Health Coverage (UHC)] and the other health-related [Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)] targets isn't just about spending more money. Governments need to ensure these resources are used efficiently and fairly to scale-up the supply of quality health services for everyone, with enough well-trained and motivated health workers, and to transform health systems to address the needs of people, not diseases. ... We ... recommend that countries implement health reform strategies that move swiftly towards full population coverage in an equitable way. The vital first step is to scale up primary health care services, focusing on meeting the needs of vulnerable groups such as the poor, women, girls, and adolescents, as well as the disabled and older populations. To reach everyone, essential health services need to be free at the point of delivery. ... The inclusion of UHC as one of the targets in the Sustainable Development Goals provides the platform for moving towards all other health targets through the delivery of integrated, people-centered services that span the life course, bring prevention to the fore, and protect against financial hardship. UHC is the ultimate expression of fairness and one of the most powerful social equalizers among all policy options" (12 december 2016).