Regional strategy on universal health coverage
AbstractThere has been strong and consistent commitment to improving equity in health through universal coverage in the Region as well as global level from WHO and Member States. An overall financing strategy towards achieving this goal has been developed for the Asia-Pacific Region jointly by South-East Asia Region Office and Western-Pacific Region Office. Further, these regional priorities will be a focus of the forthcoming 2010 World Health Report, Financing for universal coverage. Key challenges to financing for universal coverage in the Region are high and potentially impoverishing out-of-pocket spending on health; a large and poor informal sector that is most vulnerable to the high cost of access to care; a large and mostly unregulated private sector that dominates provision of care; and an increasing burden of non-communicable disease requiring high-cost individual care. There are three choices in progress towards universal coverage that health financing reform needs to consider: priority population to be reached with a chosen benefit package at a feasible public subsidy. A practical approach to shift from out-of-pocket payments towards equity and universal coverage is a step-by-step move, first to an intermediate stage of a mix of community initiatives to protect the informal sector and social insurance for the formal sector with general government revenues focusing on public health and the poor; and, a next stage that consolidates community and social insurance into national level social protection schemes with continued public investment in public health and target population. In-depth technical assessments of the potential of this approach to sustainable financing for universal coverage in Member States is recommended to formulate a strategy for the Region to be considered by the Sixty-fourth Regional Committee in 2011 for further action. The attached working paper is submitted to the High-Level Preparatory (HLP) Meeting for its review and recommendations. The recommendations made by the HLP Meeting will be submitted to the Sixty-third Session of the Regional Committee for its consideration.
World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia. (2010). Regional strategy on universal health coverage. New Delhi: WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/127781. License: World Health Organization