World Health Report 2010: Health System Financing and the path to Universal Coverage

“Around 150 million people are suffering from the hardships presented by the collapse of financial systems. And 100 million people have actually been pushed under the poverty line because of the need to use and pay for health services," said David Evans, director of health systems financing at the WHO and the author of World Health Report 2010, which was officially launched in November. Read more

As Evans put the World Health Report together, he referred to the World Health Assembly Resolution held in 2005, where the member states were asked to develop their Health financing systems to ensure all people have access to needed services without the risk of financial hardship linked to paying for care which formed the beginning of developing the universal health coverage movement.

The ambition of universal health coverage requires all people to have access to needed health services, which included prevention, health promotion, treatment and rehabilitation - without the risk of financial hardship associated with accessing services.

There are three key factors that influence a country's capacity to provide the financial resources needed to move towards universal health coverage which are, affordability, level of political and public commitment to health, and prevailing attitudes such as concepts towards solidarity to improve healthcare available to people.

What makes the world so far behind universal health coverage is related to factors such as weak health systems and health financing systems that do not function.

The report is proposes solutions that draw on country experiences and the best available evidence to suggest options that countries can consider to address their own specific health financial problem needs..

The proposed solutions are threefold and these include the continual need to search for sufficient funds for health, avoiding financial barriers to healthcare access and inequity in use of resources.

The solutions are relevant to countries in all income levels and offer a framework for how the international community can better help low-income countries develop their own heath financial systems and institutions.

“It’s not possible to get universal health coverage tomorrow but we will get there quicker if we focus on these things,” said Evans and it is definitely true for that.

Jittima Jantanamalaka - CNS
(The author is the Managing Director of Jay Inspire Co. Ltd (JICL), produces radio programmes in northern Thailand and writes for Citizen News Service (CNS). She is also the Director of CNS Diabetes Media Initiative (CNS-DMI) in Thailand. Website:, Email:

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Citizen News Service (CNS), India/Thailand