Universal Health Coverage and NCDs

In 2019 the UK Working Group on NCDs advocated to ensure the UK government recognised and prioritised integrating both NCD prevention and control into domestic and international UHC packages and health systems strengthening.

According to the World Health Organization, universal health coverage (UHC) means that ‘all people and communities can access the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship’. Despite this, it has been observed that UHC efforts to date have focused more on provision of treatment services than promotion and prevention strategies.

In 2019, the Working Group focused on the lead-up to the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, advocating for NCD prevention and control be included as a core component, in September 2019 the UK Working Group on NCDs (with Chatham House’s Centre for Global Health Security) holding a roundtable on ‘Acting Early, Saving Lives: Prevention and Promotion as Key Aspects of UHC’. This brought together around 40 representatives of non-governmental organisations, academia, government, the health sector and people living with NCDs.

The roundtable’s aims were…

  • to discuss the opportunities and enabling factors for strengthening commitment to ensuring that NCD prevention and mental health promotion are a key aspect of pursuing UHC;
  • to share experiences of financing and delivering prevention and promotion services, and to reflect on the potential of primary health care to support NCD and mental health goals; and
  • to identify strategies for championing the case for investment in NCD prevention and mental health promotion.

For more on UHC and NCDs, read the NCD Alliance’s briefing Ensuring Healthy Lives for all: Non-communicable Diseases and Universal Health Coverage (2018) 

Does thorough integration of NCDs into UHC matter to you?

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