Key messages

World Health Day messages

Universal health coverage (UHC) is about ensuring all people can use quality health services, where and when they need them, without experiencing financial hardship.

  • No one should have to choose between health care and other basic needs.
  • UHC is key to people’s and nations’ health and well-being.
  • Many countries have made great progress. All countries can do more.

The “universal” in UHC means:

  • for all countries – many have made great progress, all can do more;
  • for all people, without discrimination, leaving no one behind;
  • health systems designed around people, not diseases;
  • the right care, in the right place, at the right time – every time;
  • out-of-pocket payments are low in relation to people’s ability to pay for health care;
  • out-of-pocket payments do not push people into poverty; and
  • no one has to choose between health care and other basic needs.

Regional context: financial protection

  • Out-of-pocket payments for health can cause people financial hardship, even in high-income countries.
  • In many countries in Europe, payments for medicines are the main cause of financial hardship.
  • WHO/Europe recommends that countries reduce out-of-pocket payments and aim to keep them below 15% of total spending on health.