WHO’s number 1 goal, universal health coverage, is about ensuring that all people can access the health services they need, when they need them, right in the heart of the community, without experiencing financial hardship.

For this year’s World Health Day, on 7 April, WHO is focusing on universal health coverage, with the aim of helping people better understand what services and support should be available and where. WHO calls on people who have access to quality, affordable health care to advocate for equal access to care, everywhere.

WHO also recognizes the important role that health-care professionals can play in helping health decision-makers recognize what people need in terms of care, particularly at the primary care level. The World Health Day campaign also presents an opportunity for ministers of health and other government decision-makers to commit to taking action to address gaps in universal health coverage in their countries, as well as to highlight progress that has already been made.

Universal health coverage – the bigger picture

While countries continue to grapple with the realities of providing their populations access to quality care with limited available economic resources, it has become increasingly clear that political will is crucial if universal health coverage is to gain ground.

High-level events in 2018 reflected this sentiment and generated increased political commitment for universal health coverage in the WHO European Region.

World Health Day 2019 falls midway between the Global Conference on Primary Health Care held in Astana, Kazakhstan in October 2018 and the High-Level Meeting on universal health coverage to be held at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019. World Health Day is one of many opportunities to communicate about the importance of equity in health-care services, not only for the health of individuals, but also for the health of economies and society in general.