Universal health coverage – ensuring that all people have access to the quality health services they need and are safeguarded from public health risks without suffering financial hardship – is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. On December 12, the UN Foundation joins partners around the world to commemorate Universal Health Coverage Day 2016.

In many places around the world, including the United States, health care services (such as check-ups, vaccinations, screenings, surgeries, medical tests, lifesaving medications, and other procedures) are often unaffordable. This means that high health care costs can put quality care out of reach for many families, worsen poverty as families are forced to stop work or divert large portions of their incomes to pay for health care, widen inequalities and reduce our ability to protect the broader health of communities. This should not be the case – in a sustainable and equitable world, the services needed to stay healthy, cure disease, and unlock our full potential should be available to every individual.

In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, countries around the world are making progress on universal health coverage, including strengthening broader health systems and financial protections to ensure that universal health coverage continues to help put health in reach for all.

Check out what world leaders have to say about Universal Health Coverage policies.

“Health care should be accessible, affordable, and available to every man, woman, and adolescent, everywhere. This is crucial to building a future of dignity and opportunity for all.” –UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Tweet

“Ending epidemics will not be possible without resilient primary health care systems that reach every person with comprehensive care.” – Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to End AIDS, TB, and Malaria. Tweet

“The inclusion of a universal health coverage target in the SDGs gives health the power to build fair, stable, and cohesive societies.” – Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization. Tweet

“Investing in universal health coverage will create millions of decent jobs.” – Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization. Tweet

Get involved:
· Learn more!
· Sign a petition to cement Universal Health Coverage Day on the global calendar every year.
· Find out about Universal Health Coverage Day events happening around the world.