This year, World Health Day takes place on April 7th with the theme universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere. Universal health coverage, or UHC, is about ensuring that everyone has access to quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship.
To ensure UHC, health systems need to be able to function effectively to deliver quality health care for all. Over the past few months, HSG members have been blogging about how Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR) is fundamental to achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030. Why not read some of the blogs from the collection and share with your colleagues?
- Universal Health Coverage in crisis-affected contexts: The rhetoric and the reality: Across the world, protracted crises are challenging the humanitarian system. Those delivering healthcare are fighting old diseases (e.g. cholera in Yemen), as well as newly emerging ones (e.g. diabetes in Jordan). In all cases, they are struggling. So what does aiming towards UHC mean in reality for actors working in these conflict affected contexts?
- Universal Health Coverage: Are we there yet?: There is no doubt that we have come a long way since the Alma Ata Declaration, where they reached the milestone and identified primary health care as the key to the attainment of the goal of Health for All. Yet, there is still a long way to go. This blog argues that essential for achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030 is need and inclusion.
- Why is HSR key for fragile and conflict-affected states to achieve UHC?: UHC is attractive to even the countries with the largest challenges facing their health systems — those of fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS). But is it a realistic objective for FCAS health systems?
- Shocks, stresses and Universal Health Coverage: When it comes to health and climate change, the focus remains on how current health systems will experience climate change and its negative impacts, rather than on engaging in transformational processes such as UHC to improve equity and adaptability to current and future climate risks. HPSR needs to consider integrated development planning, by creating avenues to improve the accountability of governments to provide healthcare to all.
- Collective impact for Universal Coverage: Liberia’s health system on the rise: Health systems research has been fundamental to Liberia’s efforts to revise its community health program and policy in recent years. Such endeavors to strengthen its national health system means Liberia is a step closer to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
- Universal Health Coverage: Robust policy and systems research (still) needed: As many countries seek to apply the latest evidence to strengthen their health systems, it needs to be coupled with research into new policies as they are implemented. Only this ingrained and integrated approach will allow the global health community to learn from every failure and success on the path to UHC.
- Law, regulation and policy: How do they impact Universal Health Coverage?: Governance-related effects and changes in laws, regulations, and policies can play a critical role in making progress towards UHC. While there is a large body of qualitative literature in this area, there is still a dearth of literature that adopts a governance lens in assessing the success of health system reforms.
- International health systems that breathe the same air: In order to shape health systems, it is vital to mobilise champions, and include health professionals and end-users of services in the design and implementation.
- Ensuring “G” in UHC: Redressing gender for effective Universal Health Coverage: There is an urgent need to keep the gender lens wide while planning for UHC, especially in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Coverage is essential, but while we strive toward this, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on gender equality should not be forgotten.
- How can data help health systems research #pressforprogress for women?: An important step to move the gender equality agenda forward is to understand where the gender disparities are – to do this, we need to quantify it. Sex-disaggregated data will ensure that policies and interventions can best be targeted to those who are in most need of health care.
- On International Women’s Day we need to shine a spotlight on women in fragile and conflict-affected settings: Attention to fragile and conflict-affected states is critical to achieving UHC, along with progress on other Sustainable Development Goals on gender equity and social justice. We need to ensure that women’s needs are met during crises and war, and that we join up action here with longer term, sustainable solutions.
- Strengthening gender equity within community health workforce: A need for gender-inclusive inter-sectoral policy approaches: Applying a gender lens is critical in developing health systems and policies that strive to meet UHC, especially as we consider strategies that strengthen gender equity in the deployment of the health workforce including community health workers (CHWs) needed to meet the UHC goals.