Financing and Universal Health Coverage
Universal health coverage (UHC) is an essential part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and SDG 3.8 calls for all UN member states to ‘achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all’. This encompasses three key objectives:
- Equity: everyone should be able to access healthcare, not just those who can pay
- Quality: the quality of healthcare services should be good enough to improve the health of those receiving them
- Protection against financial risk: the cost of using health services should not put people at risk of financial harm
Achieving Universal Health Coverage will require sustainable financing and it has been shown that public sources of funding have been the most effective in making progress towards this. Public funding can be compulsory and pre-paid, such as taxes, or it can be external if the funds flow through recipient governments. As external funding for health decreases, to reach UHC countries will need to move towards increased domestic financing.
Countries may want to consider financing for a hepatitis programme within the context of UHC and ideally as part of an overall increase in spending on the health budget. For those countries that are working towards UHC or are just starting to finance their viral hepatitis programme catalytic financing strategies may be required.
Financing can come from three key sources, domestic, patient payments and external. To fully fund a hepatitis programme it is likely that financing will need to come from a combination of these options.
The next section looks at each of the financing options within each of the categories in further detail.
Decision making framework
Determining which financing options should be used for each of the areas of the hepatitis programme requires strategic decision making. The right mix of financing options will differ for each country but in making these decisions you may want to take the below factors into consideration.