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[AHD] Universal health coverage (UHC)

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African Views

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Universal health coverage (UHC) – or fairer, more efficient health financing that pools risk and shares healthcare costs equitably across the population – is about improving access to health services and reducing poverty from catastrophic healthcare expenditure. UHC reforms can improve health and financial protection of people around the world, especially poor and vulnerable populations.
Universal Health Coverage was a core of resolutions reached at the United Nations General Assembly on 6th December 2012. High level discussions facilitated by the World Health Organization and other UN agencies have also led to ratification of universal health coverage as the key goal for the post-development agenda for global health. 
The concept is taking off in countries as varied as South Africa, India, Rwanda, Indonesia, and the United States, with governments around the world engaging in serious political and technical discussions on how to expand health coverage. Still others are considering such reforms, but are struggling to navigate the legal, financial, and political frameworks of their countries to determine the best path toward reform. While details vary from country to country, the key common goals are that the cost burden of health care is shared widely and evenly, patients and their families have increased coverage, resources are better utilized, and health outcomes are improved. 
Pertinent questions arise: Is it possible for Nigeria to achieve universal health coverage by 2015 as initially planned? What economic, social and political factors militate against the attainment of UHC in Nigeria? What existing model can the nation adopt to fast track UHC? Which middle or low income country in Africa can we learn from? What does it take to achieve UHC in Nigeria? Are we really to pay for price? And who pays? 
Those and similar questions will be fulcrum of discussion this week.

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