December 12, 2015
Today, 12 December, is Universal Health Coverage Day. Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is a critical component of the new Sustainable Development Goals, which include a specific health goal: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. Within this health goal, a specific target for UHC has been proposed, namely to achieve UHC, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.
To highlight the links between UHC and the right to health, the World Health Organization published a policy brief last month, entitled Anchoring universal health coverage in the right to health: What difference would it make? This brief was developed by Gorik Ooms and Rachel Hammonds of the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp. They explored how efforts to advance towards UHC overlap with efforts to realize the right to health. The main focus of the publication is on the gaps that exist between UHC efforts and right to health efforts; the underlying assumption is that efforts towards achieving UHC do promote some, but not necessarily all, of the efforts required from governments for the realization of the right to health.