Smarter Investments for Better Health: Celebrating Country Progress Towards Universal Health Coverage

December 11, 2017

Tomorrow, December 12, marks the fifth annual Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day. Half a decade after the landmark UN endorsement, more countries than ever are working to translate UHC goals into reality through defined, tangible, equitable, and comprehensive health services for their populations. To celebrate, CGD is pleased to host a short program—Better Decisions, Better Health: Practical Experiences Supporting UHC from Around the World—featuring a keynote from Dr. Mark McClellan, who has been at the forefront of improving the quality and value of healthcare in the US, and presentations from experts on practical experiences supporting UHC from Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and at the global level.

Each year, millions of people fall into poverty because they have to pay out of pocket for medical care for themselves or a loved one. Many more can’t even access healthcare, creating serious risks for population health and disease outbreak and epidemic. UHC is the goal of ensuring that everyone, everywhere can access quality health services without the risk of financial hardship.

Last week, in his keynote address at the DCP3 launch event in London, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reaffirmed UHC as his “top priority.” He acknowledged that UHC is no easy task, and that it requires “political commitment and technical expertise” and that tough decisions “must be made about finite resources.” Tomorrow, we will celebrate and highlight how countries are addressing these challenges and making huge progress in their commitments to UHC.

Following a recommendation of the CGD working group on Priority-Setting in Health in 2012, the International Decision Support Initiative (iDSI) was established in 2013. iDSI is a global network of health, policy, and economic experts working with countries to get more health and better value for every dollar they spend, so that they can achieve fairer, higher-quality, and more sustainable UHC. iDSI forms regional and global partnerships that support and share knowledge with one another in order to achieve real-world health gains and build progress towards the health Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 3).

During our event tomorrow, we’ll hear from iDSI partners about challenges and successes in their paths towards UHC. We will also explore how we can continue our efforts in the future, especially with Dr. Tedros’ announcement of the five-year strategic plan to see 1 billion more people with health coverage by 2023.

We need to work together to make smarter investments in health and tough choices based on rigorous evidence and evaluation of the costs and benefits of different healthcare policy decisions. Join us (RSVP here) tomorrow as we celebrate our achievements so far and gear up for the work ahead in this movement towards UHC.

Sign up for the event here.


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.

Image credit for social media/web: Social media image by Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank