MSH Welcomes UN General Assembly Resolution on Universal Health Coverage

“An important step in fight against health inequity and poverty”


Today, the 67th United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution “Global health and foreign policy” that places a major emphasis on universal health coverage (UHC) in the global health and foreign policy work of the UN and Member States in the coming years. Management Sciences for Health (MSH), a non-profit global health organization with experience in over 100 countries, hailed the resolution as a “decisive step in the fight against health inequity and poverty.”

“As UN Member States are coming together in 2013 to shape the global development agenda for the next 15 years, this resolution sends a clear message that UHC is essential to achieving the right to health and is a key component of the post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) framework,” said Dr. Jonathan D. Quick, MSH President & CEO. “MSH recommends universal health coverage as the overarching post-MDGs health goal along with key provisions for equity and measurable targets to improve health and deliver effective and sustainable development solutions,” said Dr. Quick.

The resolution calls on the UN to commit to continued consultations on how best to promote UHC at the national, regional and global levels and recognizes that “effective and financially sustainable implementation of UHC is based on a resilient and responsive health system that provides comprehensive primary health-care services with extensive geographical coverage …and has an adequate skilled, well-trained and motivate workforce.” The resolution also encourages Member States to convene a High Level Meeting on UHC.

The resolution also requests that the UN Secretary General submit to the General Assembly at its 68th session, a report which compiles and analyzes past and current experiences of Member States in the ways they have succeeded in implementing universal health coverage.

“MSH especially welcomes that the resolution recognizes that the provision of UHC requires full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, which includes commitments to universal access to reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programs, “ said Dr. Quick.

More than one billion people worldwide are unable to access basic health services they need because services, including essential medicines, are unavailable or they cannot afford them. Every year, more than 150 million people face severe financial hardship. Another 100 million are driven into poverty when they become ill and are forced to access health services and pay out of pocket fees they cannot afford. Many of the same people are unable to break the vicious cycle of illness-induced poverty because of lack of safety nets and high out- of- pocket expenditures. Over 100 countries have taken steps toward UHC and over half of these countries are in low and middle income countries. Nearly 50 countries have achieved UHC, most– but not all –are high income countries.

MSH supports universal health coverage for all, especially for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and believes strong health systems are essential to achieving universal health coverage. MSH works toward equitable access to essential health services at an affordable cost for all. MSH’s core expertise in UHC includes: access to medicines and pharmaceutical management; health insurance, health economics and health financing; leadership, management and governance; and country and global advocacy. MSH manages the Rockefeller Foundation-funded Health for All: The Campaign for Universal Health Coverage in Africa and is one of the original cosponsors of the Civil Society Call to Action on UHC (PDF).

In September, the UN Foreign Policy and Global Health group (composed of seven countries -France, Thailand, Senegal, Norway, Brazil, South Africa, and Indonesia) proposed this resolution, later co-sponsored by the governments of Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Senegal, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America.

Read the full text of the resolution here.