A key dimension of a health system's performance is the fairness of its financing system. Globally, some 100 million people fall below the poverty line every year because of out-of-pocket expenditures on health, and a further 1.2 billion, already living in poverty are pushed deeper into it. In countries such as Pakistan, Laos, The Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cameroon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Nigeria and Sudan out-of-pocket payments represent 50% or more of total health expenditure.
Governments worldwide are seeking to develop their health financing systems to provide financial protection and achieve universal health coverage (UHC), defined as access to key promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health interventions of good quality for all at an affordable cost. As countries focus on increasing effective coverage and financial risk protection, it is critically important to ensure that the poor and vulnerable - who are often the most difficult to reach – are not left behind.
Economists continue to make important contributions to the assessment of how well health systems are performing on this front. Equity analyses of health financing systems are steadily growing and currently there are a range of pragmatic evaluations of transformative equity-focused reforms to health financing systems underway in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). The time is ripe for members of iHEA to come together to exchange ideas and build professional networks that will help shape both research and policy agendas for UHC.
What is the Financing for Universal Health Coverage Special Interest Group?
This special interest group will bring together a network of health economists specialising in health financing in Low and Middle Income Countries, with a particular focus on financing reforms to support the pursuit of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Our diverse group of health economists working in over 20 low and middle income countries will facilitate important cross-country learning and comparisons that will ultimately raise the quality and recognition of our research and training in this area. Our group will regularly seek opportunities to provide commentary on national and global financing reforms. If you are interested in health financing for UHC and want to learn what others are doing, then this is the group for you!
Financing for UHC Objectives
Our overall objective is to broaden the evidence base for informing policy on how Low and Middle Income Countries can develop equitable health financing systems that can bring them closer to universal health coverage.
More specifically, we seek to:
- Foster collaboration and knowledge exchange between health economists specialising in health financing in LMICs;
- Strengthen the analytical capacity for health financing research - especially amongst early-mid career researchers and women in LMICs; and
- Share and critique latest methods for conducting equity-focussed evaluations of health financing reforms and systems;
- Contribute to international policy debates on financing for universal health coverage; and
- Share educational resources and materials among members and more broadly.
Joining the Financing for UHC SIG
Membership is open to iHEA members who are working and/or studying in the field.
Membership can be requested by logging in to the iHEA website, selecting the "groups" section and clicking "request to join" by the SIG name. Membership is approved by the convener(s) of the SIG.
Convener: Dr. Virginia Wiseman, Associate Professor of Health Economics, Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine & Co-Editor of Health Policy and Planning