Health financing

Purchasing health services for universal health coverage: how to make it more strategic?

Inke Mathauer, Elina Dale, Matthew Jowett, Joe Kutzin

Publication details

Editors: World Health Organization
Number of pages: 18
Publication date: 2019
Languages: English
WHO reference number: WHO/UCH/HGF/PolicyBrief/19.6



Purchasing is a core health financing function that refers to the allocation of funds to public and private health care providers for the services they provide.

Strategic purchasing means to align funding and incentives with the legal entitlements to health services and must therefore be guided by detailed information on the performance of providers and the health needs of the population served. Strategic purchasing aims to maximize health system objectives through an active, evidence-based process that defines which health services should be bought from whom, how these health services should be paid for and at what rate they should be paid.

A country’s purchasing setup is usually neither completely passive, nor fully strategic. Countries at all income levels may constantly seek to progress on this continuum towards more strategic purchasing.

This policy brief aims to show how strategic purchasing contributes to progress towards UHC and how countries can make their purchasing more strategic.

Related topics

Related documents