September 7th, 2012

Achieving universal health coverage in low-income settings

Global Health

The goal of universal health coverage is deeply embedded in politics, ethics, and international law. Article 25 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for health, including medical care, and the right to security in the event of sickness or disability. Motherhood and childhood are to be afforded special care and assistance. In the same year, the Constitution of the World Health Organization came into force, declaring that “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.”

There are two related motivations for the commitment to universal health coverage. The first is that every individual has the right to health, and hence to some measure of health care. The second is that poor health has negative spillovers (externalities), from individuals to the community, and from poor countries to rich countries. Society at large therefore has a vested interest in ensuring that poor individuals have access to health coverage.

Read full article at The Lancet


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