SEA/RC63/24 - 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 at 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 the Regional Offices for South-East Asia and the Western-Pacific regions. Furthermore, these regional priorities will be the focus of the forthcoming 2010 World Health Report, “Financing for Universal Coverage”. The key challenges to financing for universal coverage in the Region are the 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 the increasing burden of noncommunicable diseases requiring high-cost individual care. There are three choices in the 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, to the next stage that consolidates community and social insurance into national-level social protection schemes with continued public investment in public health and target populations. In-depth technical assessments of the potential of this approach to sustainable financing for universal coverage in Member States is recommended for formulating a strategy for the Region to be considered by the Sixty-fourth Regional Committee in 2011 for further action. The High-Level Preparatory (HLP) Meeting held in the Regional Office in New Delhi from 28 June to 1 July 2010 reviewed the working paper and made the following recommendations: Action by Member States • Evidence-based technical assessment should be carried out on financing for universal health coverage. Actions by WHO-SEARO (1) The Regional Office should provide support to Member States to carry out technical assessment on financing for universal health coverage. (2) A draft of the regional strategy on universal health coverage should be prepared through a series of consultative meetings and expert reviews. A regional consultation should also be organized to develop consensus on the regional strategy on universal health coverage. The working paper and the HLP recommendations based on it are submitted to the Sixty-third Session of the Regional Committee for its consideration. The Committee is also requested to consider the draft resolution on the subject.
World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia. (2010). SEA/RC63/24 - Regional Strategy on Universal Health Coverage. WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/128371