There have been impressive gains in global health over the past 20 years, with millions of lives saved through expanded access to essential medicines and other health products. But behind these successes is an unacceptable reality: in many low- and middle-income countries, lifesaving health products are either unavailable or beyond the reach of the people who need them most.
What’s In, What’s Out: Designing Benefits for Universal Health Coverage: Key Messages for Donors and Advocates
Many low- and middle-income countries aspire to universal health coverage (UHC), but for rhetoric to become reality, the health services offered must be consistent with the funds available, which may require tough tradeoffs. An explicit health benefits package—a defined list of services that are and are not subsidized—is essential in creating a sustainable UHC system.
Decisions about which type of patients receive what interventions, when, and at what cost often result from ad hoc, nontransparent processes driven more by inertia and interest groups than by science, ethics, and the public interest. Reallocating a portion of public and donor monies toward the most cost-effective health interventions would save more lives and promote health equity.