Health Expenditures and Universal Coverage

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World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolutions

  “Universal health coverage” or “Social health protection”- are two new resolutions for health financing highlighted by World Health Assembly (WHA).

Universal coverage has been defined as:

  “Ensuring that all people have access to needed health services – prevention, promotion, treatment and rehabilitation – without facing financial ruin because of the need to pay for them.”

  Modification of current health-financing system and sharing of knowledge about best practices and country experiences will help to achieve WHA resolutions.


  Based on countries income levels, they have to move towards universal coverage or to protect the gains already made with the help of following options. (At least one has to be used)
Options for immediate action include:
  • raising more funds for health domestically;
  • reducing financial barriers to services by increasing forms of prepayment and the pooling of funds, rather than relying on direct out-of-pocket payments;
  • improving efficiency and equity in the way resources are used.

  Rich countries have responsibilities to help lower-income countries. Useful information can be gathered through National health accounts and other forms of expenditure tracking system.

Available Funds for Health

  Based on funds availability health services boundaries are fixed.

  Country’s wealth position, the proportion of national income incurred to health, and inflows of funds for health from external partners - these are the three major factors to determine country’s wealth position.

  Enormous variations have been seen in health expenditures between different countries.

  Per capita expenditures ranged from US$ 11 in Eritrea to US$ 8262 in Luxembourg.

  Average per capita expenditures also varied from US$ 48 in the South-East Asia Region to US$ 3187 in Americas.

  As per Innovative International Financing for Health Systems suggestion minimum of US$ 44 a country would require to meet health expenses.

Total Health Expenditure Per Capita, 2009 (US$)
AFR - African Region AMR - American Region
SEAR - South East Asian Region EUR - European Region
EMR - Eastern Mediterranean Region WPR - Western Pacific Region
Source: WHO-2012 report

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