Lessons for the Universalization of Health Care in Emerging Economies


Recording of the webinar Lessons for the Universalization of Health Care in Emerging Economies broadcasted on 27th of July, presented by United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).

This webinar explored the opportunities and challenges facing developing countries as they seek to expand and universalize their health care systems.

Universal health care was once a central pillar of the welfare state, but the rise of neoliberalism in international policy discourse and practice eroded the support for universal social provision. As a result, many countries shifted health care from public to private management and provision in a wave of pro-market reforms. Yet, not all countries followed this path, and the examples of those that went against the tide and promoted universalization of health care provide valuable insights for policy makers seeking to create more inclusive systems, in line with the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This webinar, drawing on the recently published UNRISD volume Towards Universal Health Care in Emerging Economies: Opportunities and Challenges, will focus on the diverse outcomes seen in selected emerging economies that have pursued universal health care in recent years. It will provide an overview of these experiences and a framework for understanding why outcomes differed across countries, taking political, economic and institutional factors into account. The webinar will look closely at the cases of Brazil and China, and broadly discuss the experiences of Thailand, Russia, South Africa, India, Indonesia and Venezuela.


Ilcheong Yi, UNRISD

Armando de Negri Filho, World Social Forum on Health and Social Security

William Hsiao, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

Shufang Zhang, The Global Fund


Indrajit Roy, Oxford University


Kelly Stetter, UNRISD