The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as the theme for this year’s World Health Day. The WHO is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, and is emphasizing Health For All.
Celebrated on 7th April, this year, the WHO is calling on world leaders to live up to the pledges they made when they agreed the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, and commit to concrete steps to advance the health of all people. This means ensuring that everyone, everywhere can access essential quality health services without facing financial hardship.
What UHC is
- UHC means that all people and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship.
- UHC enables everyone to access the services that address the most important causes of disease and death and ensures that the quality of those services is good enough to improve the health of the people who receive them.
What UHC is not
- UHC does not mean free coverage for all possible health interventions, regardless of the cost, as no country can provide all services free of charge on a sustainable basis.
- UHC is not only about ensuring a minimum package of health services, but also about ensuring a progressive expansion of coverage of health services and financial protection as more resources become available.
- UHC is not only about medical treatment for individuals, but also includes services for whole populations such as public health campaigns – for example adding fluoride to water or controlling the breeding grounds of mosquitoes that carry viruses that can cause disease.
- UHC is not just about health care and financing the health system of a country. It encompasses all components of the health system: systems and healthcare providers that deliver health services to people, health facilities and communications networks, health technologies, information systems, quality assurance mechanisms and governance and legislation.
At least half of the world’s people is currently unable to obtain essential health services.
Almost 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty, forced to survive on just $1.90 or less a day, because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets.
Over 800 million people (almost 12 percent of the world’s population) spend at least 10 percent of their household budgets on health expenses for themselves, a sick child or other family member. They incur so-called “catastrophic expenditures”.
Incurring catastrophic expenses for health care is a global problem. In richer countries in Europe, Latin America and parts of Asia, which have achieved high levels of access to health services, increasing numbers of people are spending at least 10 percent of their household budgets on out-of-pocket health expenses.
World Health Day messages
Universal health coverage is about ensuring all people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship.
No one should have to choose between good health and other life necessities.
UHC is key to people’s and nations’ health and well-being.
UHC is feasible. Some countries have made great progress. Their challenge is to maintain coverage to meet people’s expectations.
All countries will approach UHC in different ways: there is no one size fits all. But every country can do something to advance UHC.
Making health services truly universal requires a shift from designing health systems around diseases and institutions towards health services designed around and for people.
Everyone can play a part in the path to UHC, by taking part in a UHC conversation.
Theme, slogan and hashtag
The theme of World Health Day is: Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere.
The slogan is “Health for All”.
The primary hashtag that we are using is #HealthForAll but look out for posts using #WorldHealthDay as well.
Link to the World Health Day 2018 Campaign page:
Link to World Health Day Campaign Essentials page:
Link to World Health Day 2018 Key Messages:
Link to WHO fact sheet on Universal Health Coverage (updated December 2017):
Link to WHO page on How you can get involved in World Health Day 2018:
Link to infographics on Universal Health Coverage:
Links to WHO videos on Universal Health Coverage: