Side Meetings


Reversing the Course in Deteriorating Financial Protection for Universal Health Coverage: Measurement and Policy Responses


  • 14:00 - 17:30 HRS. (BKK)

  • Venue : Lotus Suite 10

  • Contact Person : Gil Shapira,

  • Ajay Tandon (

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) – one of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals -- requires that all people receive quality health services they need without facing financial hardship. The focus on both effective service coverage as well as financial risk protection under UHC implies that how countries finance their health systems matters. Financing for health in most low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is dominated by high levels of out-of-pocket (OOP) spending, an inefficient and inequitable modality which contributes to foregone care among poor and vulnerable populations, reduces the ability of households to spend on other necessities, and puts them at risk of impoverishment from high illness-related expenditures. Globally, financial hardship – as measured the number of people facing catastrophic OOP spending for health, i.e., spending that exceeded 10% of their budget – continues to deteriorate: recent estimates indicate that more than one billion – 13.5% of the world’s population faced catastrophic health spending in 2019. In order to reverse this trend, there is a need for closer tracking of financial protection indicators that in turn will help inform the design and implementation of corrective policy interventions. There is therefore a need to improve capacity to routinely as well as frequently produce, interpret, and use credible timely data on financial protection to achieve UHC.

The objective of this half-day workshop is to introduce participants to concepts and methods used in monitoring financial protection in health, present recent findings, and discuss the policy reforms that could reverse the deterioration in financial protection that is taking place globally.

This workshop will be composed of two sections. The first will be devoted to measurement of financial protection in health. It will start with a brief overview of the concept and measurement of UHC, followed by a summary from latest findings from the WHO-World Bank Global Monitoring Report for UHC. This will be followed by presentation on the relationship between OOP health spending and forgone care specifically focus on recent results from countries in the East Asia and Pacific region. The second section will be devoted to the policy levers that can improve financial protection in health. Given the importance of replacing OOP with public financing for UHC, a focus will be given to trends in public spending on health – both via general taxation and social health insurance – and a discussion of challenges and opportunities in financing and designing coverage schemes to improve financial protection across LMICs.