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12 December 2016
Universal Health Coverage Day, commemorated each 12 December, is the anniversary of the first unanimous United Nations resolution calling for countries to provide affordable, quality health care to every person, everywhere.

Universal health coverage has been included in the new Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.



Universal Health Coverage (UHC) means everyone can access the quality health services they need without financial hardship.

  • WHO: All people, including the poorest and most vulnerable.
  • WHAT: Full range of essential health services, including prevention, treatment, hospital care and pain control.
  • HOW: Costs shared among entire population through pre- payment and risk-pooling, rather than shouldered by the sick. Access should be based on need and unrelated to ability to pay.

UHC is a means to promote the human right to health.

Countries of all income levels are pursuing policy reforms to achieve UHC.

  • More than 100 low- and middle-income countries, home to almost 3/4 of the world’s population, have taken steps to deliver UHC.
  • The emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS)—representing almost half the world’s population—are all taking steps toward UHC.
  • In December 2012, the United Nations passed a landmark resolution endorsing UHC.Since then, the World Bank Group and the World Health Organization (WHO) have identified UHC as a top priority for sustainable development.

Learn more.