Q&A Webinar #10: Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the Coronavirus Crisis – Challenges and Responses: maintaining essential health services while responding to COVID-19

Please see below the questions and comments from the audience. We invite you all to send your comments and let us know if you have any further questions on the topic.


Question 1: Concerning UHC in South Korea: is there a user-fee exemption component part of it in normal times? (From Sigrid Kühlke)

In normal times, the average coverage rate is around 60%. For this specific fee for Covid-19 testing, the coverage rate is 100%.


Question 2: Dr. June mentioned that the NHI was compulsory and fully funded by the state, then mentioned a premium of around USD 800. Can I get clarity on that? (From Sama El Hage Sleiman)

It is compulsory, and the source of funding is (1) individual payment, (2) company payment, and (3) government payment. For example, a staff member in a company will pay 150 USD oneself, and the company will pay another 150 USD a month to match the fund, payed to the NHIS.


Question 3: Is there any experience of using/contracting ICU beds from private hospitals, when public capacity was overwhelmed? (From Renato Tasca)

Private to public ratio is nearly 9:1 in Korea; and most of the severe patients were designated to the private hospitals given their resources. The mechanism of triage and allocation was doable as all private hospitals have to accept NHIS mandatorily by the law.


Question 4: Dr Nandy, reaching zero-dose children, the SIAs and outreach services have been the way. Are we suggesting that we just focus on maintaining the current coverage manageable within fixed-posts and mitigating drop-out rate during this period? (From Budhi Setiawan)

This question was addressed during the webinar. Watch the Q&A session here.


Question 5: With resources being limited for COVID 19 in the developing world, what are we putting in place to ensure delivery of primary health services without more exposure to COVID 19? How do we restore trust within communities during and post-COVID 19? (From Rhodes Ndlovu)

This question was addressed during the webinar. Watch the Q&A session here.


Question 6: Most countries will experience drastic declines in government revenue and will need to adjust their budgets; many will look to the IMF for emergency financing.  What would you urge the government and IFIs [International Financial Institutions] to prioritise to ensure continuity of health services during the pandemic and in the reduced resource environment that is sure to follow? (From Alexandra Yuster)

This question was addressed during the webinar. Watch the Q&A session here.


Question 7: Several speakers mentioned the potential to 'build back better'. What specific steps might governments take to build on this crisis to improve health coverage in its aftermath? (From Alexandra Yuster)

This question was addressed during the webinar. Watch the Q&A session here.




Question 8: Do you see a role for social protection in supporting catch-up vaccination post-COVID, and how? (From Gabriel Fernandez)

We see a substantial role for social protection colleagues and programmes in catching up on missed vaccinations following the COVID related disruptions. All health and social services are being disrupted due to COVID and the catching up we required will need to be comprehensive rather than piece meal. Furthermore, the most vulnerable and most underserved populations are likely to be impacted most and these are the very communities that would be the priority for both health and social protection programmes. So, there are major opportunities for collaboration in several areas such as identification of the most impacted; the planning for a catch up of services and; the delivery of these critical health and social protection services.

An integrated approach to the identification of the most underserved and the delivery of services to them will be critical, firstly because, the approach will need to be both efficient and expedient and secondly because it is likely to be better accepted by the communities if we provide them with what they need in a comprehensive manner.