Guardian Global Development: Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has become a policy priority for many countries. Defined as “access to good quality health services for all who need them without any associated financial hardship”, in its purest form UHC encompasses the three crucial pillars of any national health agenda: financial risk protection, quality service provision and 100% population coverage.
Despite widespread lobbying from international agencies and NGOs, it became obvious at the beginning of 2014 that UHC was likely to be relegated within the SDG framework discussions. It is currently an individual target within the much vaguer goal of “ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing at all ages”.
Moreover, last month’s intergovernmental negotiations reinforced the international communities’ lacklustre ratings of the two proposed indicators for the target. The low ratings mean that the indicators are likely to be stripped out altogether and replaced with alternatives that are deemed easier to monitor and measure.
Given that both the current proposed indicators focus on measuring financial protection – a key cornerstone of UHC – it is increasingly likely that this element will be removed from the SDG framework altogether.
In this think piece in the Guardian Global Development, OPM health specialist, Nouria Brikci, considers the potential impact of these ratings; the likelihood of financial protection being considered too difficult to measure and being stripped out completely, and what this would mean for UHC in the post-2015 development agenda.