The UN’s political declaration in October 2019 reported that at least half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services with 100 million people being forced into poverty due to out-of-pocket healthcare expenses each year. The COVID-19 outbreak has placed extraordinary pressure on healthcare systems all over the world, exposing the consequences of exclusion and the subsequent demand for equitable public health financing systems. Yet, while Universal Health Coverage (UHC) carries political benefits for leaders looking to demonstrate progressive reforms, many obstacles to its implementation and sustained commitment still remain.
What stages and obstacles must countries overcome if they are to achieve UHC by 2030?
What are the incentives for leaders to bring about UHC beyond political popularity?
And has the COVID-19 outbreak placed greater urgency on efforts to remove financial barriers to healthcare?