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Universal Health Coverage Day 12 Dec – Right. Smart. Overdue

A Growing Movement

CANSA is part of the Universal Health Coverage coalition of leading health and development organizations urging governments to accelerate universal health coverage so that everyone, everywhere, can access quality health services without financial hardship.  [Access the list of Organising Partners here.]

Health For All Saves Lives, Strengthens Nations, Is Achievable in Every Country.

Join the global coalition in urging greater action and progress on delivering universal health coverage. Already 100+ countries have taken steps toward ensuring everyone can access essential health services without financial hardship.

Universal Health Coverage Day, commemorated each 12 December, is the anniversary of the first unanimous United Nations resolution calling for countries to provide affordable, quality health care to every person, everywhere.  Universal health coverage has been included in the new Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.


No one should fall into poverty because they get sick and need health care. Universal health coverage is essential for making progress and for creating a fairer, more resilient society.

Universal Health Coverage Day is spearheaded by The Rockefeller Foundation, and encourages organisations from all corners of the globe, to display a prominent sign of support for Universal Health Coverage Day.

Right. Smart. Overdue.

Our generation has an unprecedented opportunity to make universal health coverage a reality.

Waiting For Health

Too many people are still waiting for health. Photographers around the world tell their stories.
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The Economic Case

Economists declare that health eradicates extreme poverty and promotes growth of well-being.
Read Declaration

What is Universal Health Coverage?

The United Nations has adopted 17 sustainable development goals for eliminating poverty and building a more resilient planet. One of those goals includes providing universal health coverage.  Universal health coverage improves how health care is financed and delivered – so it is more accessible, more equitable and more effective.

  • Nobody should go bankrupt when they get sick.  Lack of affordable, quality health care traps families and nations in poverty.  Worldwide, 400 million people lack the most basic life-saving health care, and 17% of people in low- and middle-income countries are pushed or further pushed into poverty (US$2/day) because of health spending.  Up to one-third of households in Africa and Southeast Asia borrow money or sell assets to pay for health care.
  • Universal health coverage is attainable.  100+ low- and middle-income countries, home to three-quarters of the world’s population, have taken steps to deliver universal health coverage.  Countries implementing universal health coverage are seeing the benefits: healthier communities and stronger economies.  There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Countries are designing their own unique pathways toward health for all and exchanging lessons learned.
  • Universal health coverage promotes well-being.  The Ebola crisis was a stark reminder of the urgent need to strengthen health systems.  The poorest and most marginalized people bear the brunt of preventable mother and child deaths, infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and non-communicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease.  To effectively fight these threats, we must reach everyone, everywhere, with health care.
  • Health transforms communities and economies.  Every $1 that a country invests in health today can produce up to $20 in full-income growth within a generation.  When health care is accessible and affordable, families can send their children to school, start a business and save for emergencies.  Universal health coverage pays a resilience dividend. In times of distress, health minimizes the shock to lives and livelihoods. In times of calm, health promotes community cohesion and economic productivity.
  • Health is a right, not a privilege.  Access to quality health care should never depend on where you live, how much money you have or your race, gender or age.  The World Health Organization’s constitution affirms that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental human right.  More than half of the world’s countries have included the right to health, public health or medical care in their national constitutions.

Get Involved

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Celebrate UHC Day Every Year

On 12 December 2012, the United Nations unanimously endorsed universal health coverage. Join us every 12 December to celebrate progress toward health for all and hold leaders accountable.

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