Health financing

What is health financing for universal coverage?

Global francophone course on health financing for UHC

WHO will hold its first global francophone course on health financing for UHC in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17th to 21st June 2019. This is an advanced course designed for people with proven experience and/or expertise in health financing, including policy makers, advisors, implementers, and other key actors from government, civil society and the private sector.

Spending targets for health: no magic number


February 2019 - Absolute levels of public funding are critical to UHC progress; however, health systems vary significantly in what they achieve for a given level of spending. In a new analysis of core health service coverage rates relative to public spending on health, in 83 low- and middle-income countries, variation is particularly evident at levels below PPP$ 40 per capita (public). Whilst a range of non-health system factors influence a country’s performance, this analysis demonstrates the importance of focusing not only on raising more revenues for health, but also on ensuring available funds are spent efficiently.

Cross-programmatic efficiency approach is now available in French

Tongpradit Charoenphon/Pixabay

Many countries rely on health programs to target specific diseases or interventions. These programs often operate independently of one another; leading to overlaps and duplications across core health system functions and an inefficient use of available resources. This diagnostic approach helps identify critical "cross-programmatic inefficiencies" that can be addressed through changes to specific aspects of how programs are configured and operate within the overall health system. This document is now available in French.

e-Learning course on health financing policy for universal health coverage now available in Russian

Russian elearning course

31 January 2019 - WHO’s e-learning course on health financing for UHC is now available in Russian as part of our efforts to extend technical materials to a wider group of policy makers in their mother tongue. More than 6,000 individuals have signed up for the English version of the course since its launch in August 2016, many of whom requested a Russian language version. In addition to standalone self-learning, WHO uses e-learning as preparation for face-to-face trainings and other capacity building events. The course is also available in French.

Universal health coverage and health financing

Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.

This definition of UHC embodies three related objectives:

  • Equity in access to health services - everyone who needs services should get them, not only those who can pay for them;
  • The quality of health services should be good enough to improve the health of those receiving services; and
  • People should be protected against financial-risk, ensuring that the cost of using services does not put people at risk of financial harm.

UHC is firmly based on the WHO constitution of 1948 declaring health a fundamental human right and on the Health for All agenda set by the Alma Ata declaration in 1978. UHC cuts across all of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and brings hope of better health and protection for the world’s poorest.


UHC: lessons to guide country actions on health financing
The global push for universal health coverage