By Anita Katharina Wagner & Dennis Ross-Degnan
We were delighted to collaborate with our colleagues at Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and the Rockefeller Foundation, along with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the US Agency on International Development (USAID), on developing and implementing a first international dialogue dedicated to an important global issue: medicines as part of universal health coverage (UHC).
Universal health coverage (UHC) is the ultimate accomplishment in health systems strengthening: UHC is achieved when a health system is strong enough to deliver high-quality products and services in a reliable, comprehensive and affordable way to its entire population. For the leaders who govern health systems, UHC is an ambitious and worthy goal. And as MSH President and CEO Jonathan Quick explains, success starts with their vision.
Modern medicines, vaccines, and other health technologies have revolutionized health care. Yet these products haven’t improved lives everywhere, often because health systems haven’t made them accessible and affordable. In many developing countries, where health systems still rely heavily on out-of-pocket expenditure, patients face high costs at the point of service. Some people forgo necessary care; others endure financial hardship or even impoverishment. A majority of out-of-pocket spending goes towards medicines.