COVID-19 represents the greatest global health threat in over a century and has propelled health to the forefront of political agendas, including in South Asia. The region has suffered greatly under the pandemic and its resulting health, economic and political impacts including a shortage of vaccines caused by high-income countries. But this crisis could also create opportunities to reform health systems with the objective of achieving UHC. Looking at the countries that have made strong progress towards UHC, their health systems were often born out of disruptions, crises or disease outbreaks that exposed weaknesses in their health sector. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, countries can, and should, make progress towards universal health coverage (UHC), where everyone accesses the quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship.
This is a closed roundtable organised by UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia and the Centre for Universal Health at Chatham House.