Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Developing Asia and the Pacific

The precedence for achieving universal health coverage (UHC) was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in developing Asia and the Pacific, where large portions of the population do not have access to quality and affordable health services. Achieving UHC ensures that all people have equitable access to a full range of quality health services when and where they are needed, at an affordable price so that they do not experience any financial hardship. The provision of these essential services (i.e., health promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care across the life course) involves the equitable distribution of skilled workers across all levels of the health system, who are adequately supported with access to quality assured products. Additionally, protecting people from financial hardship associated with paying out-of-pocket for health services reduces the chances of them being pushed into poverty. Often, paying for health services for unexpected illness drains a person’s life savings, sometimes forcing them to sell assets or borrow money, which threatens their well-being and livelihoods, even extending the burden onto their families.