The goal of universal health coverage is to provide all individuals and communities access to promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative health services when they need them, and to ensure that this care is both effective and does not bring about financial hardship.
Universal health coverage embodies three related objectives:
- Equity in access to health services. Everyone who needs services should get them, not only those who can pay for them.
- The quality of health services should be sufficient to improve the health of those receiving services.
- Individuals and families should be protected against financial risk.The cost of using services does not put them at risk of financial harm.
The concept of universal health care is rooted in the World Health Organization constitution of 1948 which declared health to be a fundamental human right and on the Health for All agenda set by the Declaration of Alma-Ata in 1978, which further defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”