Donors contribute to universal health coverage

Health for all is the foundation of resilient communities and helps create a more prosperous, peaceful and sustainable future. Today, more than ever, the health and well-being of people around the world is at risk. In an increasingly volatile world, faced with climate change, conflict, disease outbreaks and complex health emergencies, countries urgently need to provide universal health coverage (UHC) to protect their people.

WHO, with the support of donors and partners, works to translate high-level political commitment to universal health coverage into action and investment in countries. This includes providing technical expertise to use primary health care (PHC) approaches to design more equitable and resilient health systems, develop health plans, strengthen the delivery of medicines and vaccines, strengthen the health workforce, promote health and prevent disease, etc.

On Universal Health Coverage Day 2023, we showcase a variety of stories of hope and progress. In Burkina Faso, for example, regional health facilities are better able to respond to the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases after receiving assistance to strengthen the health workforce and provide essential care. In Tajikistan, maternal and child mortality rates have declined due to investments in infrastructure and primary care health workforce training. In India, communities living in forests, many of whom have never visited a hospital in their lives, can now access basic health services during weekly visits to community markets. Mobile health teams are using these markets as a strategic way to reach remote populations. In Lesotho, more lives are being saved by improving critical care capabilities. WHO also works with countries to ensure that refugees and migrants around the world have access to health care.

Read these inspiring stories from the field and learn how countries are working to achieve health for all, with support from WHO, its partners and donors.

Expanding access to hypertension care in Burkina Faso

A doctor in Burkina Faso checks a patient for high blood pressure. ©

The WHO Package of Essential Noncommunicable Disease Interventions (WHO PEN) complements the PEN-Plus strategy to strengthen the management and care of chronic and serious noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in Burkina Faso. This measure was achieved with the support of the World Health Organization and the Danish government. Measures under the initiative include the development of screening modules and enhanced training of health workers.

Thanks to the decentralization of tertiary hospital services, regional health facilities in Burkina Faso can now provide much-needed care for non-communicable diseases such as hypertension. Results from the World Health Organization’s 2021 Stepwise Surveillance Approach show an increase in the prevalence of hypertension among those aged 18 to 69 years, underscoring the need for intervention.

Before accessibility services to treat high blood pressure were increased, Domdasse Adama walked with the help of a cane because she was paralyzed on her left side. “But thanks to the support and treatment I received for my high blood pressure, I can now walk on my own and even cycle a few kilometers,” he said.

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Strengthening critical care capacity in Lesotho

A medical worker disinfects her hands in the intensive care unit. The World Bank and the World Health Organization will build two ultra-modern eight-bed intensive care units in 2021 to support health care at Mafeteng and Berea district hospitals in Lesotho.

Lesotho, a landlocked country surrounded by South Africa, has a high incidence of brain trauma due to its mountainous terrain and reliance on donkeys and horses as its main means of transportation. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the limited nature of critical care services in the country. In March 2020, the only 10 intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the country were located at the Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital in the capital Maseru.

“With financial support from the Global Fund, WHO led an assessment to identify gaps. The recommendations are based on expected caseloads in future waves of COVID-19 and the impact of Proposed to build a resilient health system in the wake of an epidemic. “

The evaluation resulted in the development and implementation of two national strategic plans. The World Bank supports the establishment of two ultra-modern eight-bed ICUs. WHO provided short-term intensive care training to 30 clinicians and 47 paramedics received basic first aid training. With the addition of 20 ICU beds by the World Bank, the total is expected to increase to 58 by the end of 2023. These improvements reduce the burden of care for trauma and diabetic patients, as well as patients with obstetric and HIV-related complications.

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Health clinics in Haat Bazaars, India

Health clinic in Haat Bazaars, India. © World Health Organization

Remote communities in India can now access basic health services at weekly markets. Haat Bazaar is the main cultural, economic and craft center for the inhabitants of forest and rural areas. Teams of doctors now travel to these centers through mobile health units to conduct diagnostic tests (usually diabetes, malaria, anemia, hypertension) and provide free medicines and treatment. Previously, access to basic care was difficult due to a lack of roads and infrastructure. Many people who visit Haat Bazaar clinics have never been to a hospital or been tested for symptoms, so they often don’t know they have the disease. Today, there are more than 1,800 such clinics. As of March 2022, more than 2.5 million health consultations have been provided.

This effort is supported by the Partnership for Universal Health Coverage.

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WHO convenes policymakers to chart way forward for primary health care

Health leaders gather in Kazakhstan to discuss primary health care. © World Health Organization

More than half of the world’s population still does not have access to basic health services. Strengthening primary health care (PHC) requires a paradigm shift from building health systems focused on treating disease to co-creating systems that look after the overall health and well-being of the population.

On 22 October, WHO’s largest international cooperation platform on universal health coverage, the UHC Partnership, hosted a forum for national policymakers to explore the links between primary health care and universal health coverage, the The political dynamics of system reform and success factors in promoting innovation and investment in primary health care for better implementation in the near future. This was a workshop held ahead of the International Conference on Primary Health Care, “Primary Health Care Policy and Practice: Implementation for Better Outcomes,” taking place on 23 October. Both events took place in Kazakhstan – the birthplace of the historic Declaration on Primary Health Care.

Participants called for greater investment in primary health care, taking advantage of digital innovations to protect against catastrophic out-of-pocket costs, and investment in the health and care workforce to address a projected shortage of 10 million health workers by 2030 question. Expanding primary care services across countries could save more than 60 million lives. It can also achieve 75% of the expected health benefits of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Strengthening support for better health for refugees and migrants

On February 6, 2023, a series of major earthquakes struck southern Turkey and northern Syria, followed by hundreds of aftershocks. February 2023. © World Health Organization

More than 1 billion people are on the move around the world, including nearly 300 million international migrants and nearly 100 million forcibly displaced people. Many of them are in worse health. The number of refugees and migrants is expected to increase due to climate change, conflict and other humanitarian crises.

To address this global issue, the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean co-hosted the second high-level interregional meeting on the health of refugees and migrants with a total of 122 countries and areas in the WHO African and European Regions. In March 2023, the campaign was supported by the World Health Organization Department of Health and Migration and the Universal Health Coverage Partnership.

In the conference’s outcome statement, delegates agreed to commit to “working together to build partnerships and identify opportunities for collaboration across migration routes to address some of the most pressing issues we collectively face, including climate change, the root causes of forced displacement and refugee and Access to health care for irregular migrants.”

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Primary health care in Tajikistan

Primary health care in Tajikistan. ©World Health Organization

Over the course of her 34-year career, family nurse practitioner Rafoat Sanginova has witnessed the shift from women giving birth at home to seeking maternal care at local health clinics. By moving primary health care services to local communities, Tajikistan has reduced maternal and child mortality. Support for the health workforce has also improved. They can now attend advanced training courses at regional health centers instead of having to travel all the way to the capital. Over the past 10 years, more than 10,000 nurses and 5,000 doctors have been trained.

In Tajikistan, public funding for primary health care has increased tenfold and more health centers are equipped with modern medical equipment. As a result, the number of communicable and non-communicable diseases has decreased across the country.

This effort is supported by the Partnership for Universal Health Coverage.

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Since 2011, the Universal Health Coverage Partnership has supported WHO’s efforts to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage. Through the deployment of more than 145 health policy advisers in six WHO regions, the Partnership for Universal Health Coverage assists ministries of health to develop, implement and strengthen national health plans and policies. Today, the UHC Partnership is WHO’s largest international collaboration platform on universal health coverage and primary health care. It operates in more than 125 countries and represents more than 3 billion people. It is endorsed by the World Health Organization, the European Union, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Irish Aid, the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Government of Japan, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Belgium, Canada and Germany.

Additionally, other donors and partners are mentioned in this story:


world bank

global fund

WHO is grateful to the governments, organizations and individuals who contribute to the work of the Organization, and is especially grateful to those who contribute with full flexibility to keep WHO strong and independent.

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