Health financing for universal coverage

Strategic purchasing for UHC: unlocking the potential

25-27 April 2017 - WHO Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland

WHO’s Department of Health Systems Governance and Financing held a global meeting entitled “Strategic purchasing for UHC: unlocking the potential” from 25-27 April 2017 in Geneva. More than 80 participants from national health authorities and purchasing agencies, development agencies, foundations, as well as researchers convened to discuss five key themes: benefit design, mixed provider payment system, governance for strategic purchasing, information management systems, and payment for performance. Up to 30 additional people followed the webcast sessions virtually. This meeting also served the purpose of developing further a collaborative agenda to support countries’ efforts to move towards strategic purchasing for UHC.

Summary of the meeting

Day 1, 25 April 2017

Session 1: Health benefit package design in support of UHC: evidence, process and politics - How to organize the process?

- Meeting presentations of session 1

- Live streamed session from 11.00 – 12.30 (GVA time)

Session 2: Mixed provider payment systems - How to align for coherent incentives?

- Meeting presentations of session 2

- Live streamed session from 13.45 – 15.00 (GVA time)

Day 2, 26 April 2017

Session 3: Governance for strategic purchasing - How to strengthen capacity?

- Meeting presentations of session 3

- Live streamed session from 08.45 – 10.00 (GVA time)

Session 4: Coherent information systems for strategic purchasing - How to develop them in support of strategic purchasing?

- Meeting presentations of session 4

- Live streamed session from 13.30 – 15.30 (GVA time)

Session 5: Developing a global collaborative agenda

- Meeting presentations of session 5

Day 3, 27 April 2017

Session 6: Pay for performance / Results based financing as part of mixed provider payment systems - How to move from scheme to system?

- Meeting presentations of session 6

- Live streamed session from 08.45 – 11.00 (GVA time)

Session 7: Next steps and way forward

- Meeting presentations of session 7

Background of the meeting

Purchasing health services in a strategic fashion requires resources to be allocated efficiently, taking into account the burden of disease, levels of unmet health needs and the performance of service providers, in order to support progress towards health system goals and objectives. Improving the strategic nature of purchasing plays a central role in driving health system improvements and ultimately contributes to making progress towards the health SDG goals. Funding and incentives need to be aligned with promised health services to promote service quality, efficiency, and equity in delivery and use, as well as accountability, ultimately to achieve better health outcomes. However, countries often struggle with the question which purchasing arrangement suits a specific country context by ensuring and how to ensure coherence in purchasing across multiple coverage schemes and purchasers. Furthermore, efforts to move towards more strategic purchasing often face political economy challenges and fail to be implemented.

This meeting builds upon the earlier “Setting the agenda” meeting on strategic purchasing in Geneva in April 2016 organized by WHO, and the practitioners workshop “Strategic purchasing: an emerging agenda for Africa” held in September 2016 in Rabat in the wake of the AfHEA conference which was co-organized by WHO, the Institute of Tropical Medicine, and the Communities of Practice “Financial Access to Health Services” and “Performance-Based Health Financing”.


Funding from the Government of Japan, the European Union-Luxembourg-WHO Universal Health Coverage Partnership, and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) under the Program for improving countries’ health financing systems to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage is gratefully acknowledged.


Views, opinions or facts expressed in these videos do not represent those of the World Health Organization.