The Center for Strategic and International Studies has a nice primer on the “movement” for universal health coverage. The report doesn’t go into very much depth, but it does provide a solid overview on where the players are, the major gains that have been made, the historical context of UHC, and the challenges that could prevent forward motion.
They describe the current moment as the early phases of a “movement”:
And so the movement is gaining steam. Across the globe, national, regional, and international initiatives are under way to address barriers and provide models and assistance for governments seeking to expand health coverage; universal health coverage is even being discussed as a possible goal for the United Nation’s post-2015 global development agenda (see appendix 1). As a result, millions more people globally now have better access to health services and countries are prioritizing health spending (see graph below).
Major points from the report:
- As national incomes rise, citizens are demanding access to more and higher quality health services.
- Increasingly, low and middle income countries are paving the way with new and innovative models of UHC: Rwanda and Mexico are case examples.
- Advancing UHC is a complex process and is fundamentally political: the government must invest more resources in health care delivery.
- One major tension exists between food, beverage, and alcohol companies and proponents of UHC. Margaret Chan of the WHO has likened them to the tobacco industry, who see potential regulation as a significant threat to their business.
- Scaling up UHC will require more efficient and robust tax collection systems and public redistribution of wealth.
The report does not go so far as the Global Health 2035 commission and does not discuss the potential economic gains to be had through strategic investments in hight quality health delivery systems. But, once again, we see a big opportunity for large scale advocacy at local levels and international levels. As the Millennium Development Goals come to a close in 2015, what type of galvanizing advocacy movement can propel us towards investing in policies and systems that can further justice in health?