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Purchasing health services for universal health coverage - new WHO policy brief

22 March 2019 – To progress towards UHC, strategic purchasing using public funds is essential. Strategic purchasing means defining which services are bought, from which health providers, and how these health services are paid for, decisions guided by objectives and goals of distributing resources more equitably, driving up efficiency and quality, and managing expenditure growth. Many of these reforms required are within the realm of the health sector and the Ministry of Health, and can be implemented gradually. This new Policy Brief provides an overview of strategic purchasing, its key elements, and priority policy instruments, highlighted with country experience.

WHO reference guide on national health financing strategies now available in four languages


28 November 2018 - This reference guide is based on many years of WHO’s support to members states in the development of health financing policy and strategies. Rather than prescribing a particular process, or set of health financing arrangements, the guide proposes a set of guiding principles, and key issues to address, as the basis for developing a comprehensive health financing policy. The document builds on, and should be read together with, earlier guidance on conducting a diagnostic analysis of a country’s current health financing system. The document is now available in Arabic, English, French and Russian.

Financial protection analysis in eight countries in the WHO South-East Asia


The South East Asia Region (SEARO) continues to have the highest health out-of-pocket share of total health expenditure among all WHO regions. As a result, substantial number of people in South-East Asia experienced financial hardship when accessing health services.

The new WHO study demonstrates that the key driver of these high out-of-pocket payments is spending on medicines. Several countries have introduced policies to make medicines more available, but the findings of the study indicate that these have had limited effect and further action is needed to support progress towards universal health coverage.

All documents and publications on the WHO health financing policy website are listed here sorted by document type for easy access. Please choose a category below to access the documents. The list is updated continually.