Universal Health Coverage Data

Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people can obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. As Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.8, UHC is tracked jointly by the World Health Organization and the World Bank with biannual Global Monitoring Reports. The latest Tracking Universal Health Coverage – Global Monitoring Report 2021 and Global Monitoring Report on Financial Protection in Health 2021 provide a detailed picture of worldwide UHC achievement before the pandemic and shed light on how the profound economic and health system disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are impacting UHC. The reports find that while before the pandemic service coverage continued to improve across the globe, about one third of the world population still lacked access to essential health services (SDG 3.8.1). Moreover, 1 billion people – more than ever before – spend more than 10% of their household budget out-of-pocket on health (SDG indicator 3.8.2); and half a billion people were pushed or pushed further into extreme poverty ($1.90/day) by out-of-pocket health spending. While little data on the pandemic’s impacts on UHC are available to date, there are strong indications that as of the end of 2021, service coverage rates remain well below their pre-pandemic levels and that financial protection has worsened significantly, in particular because of the stark increase in the number of poor people whose out-of-pocket health spending needs endanger their access to basic necessities like food and shelter.