Universal health coverage: necessary but not sufficient



Publication Details

Fried, S. T., Khurshid, A., Tarlton, D., Webb, D., Gloss, S., Paz, C. & Stanley, T. 2013, 'Universal health coverage: necessary but not sufficient', Reproductive Health Matters, vol. 21, no. 42, pp. 50-60.


In this article, we highlight key considerations for better addressing sexual and reproductive health and rights issues within universal health coverage (UHC), particularly in the context of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. We look at UHC as a health, development and health care financing issue, and its history. We discuss its limitations as currently understood from a human rights perspective, and show why structural barriers to health and the legal and policy environment, which are essential to health (particularly to sexual and reproductive health and rights), require critical consideration in current discussions about health in the post-2015 development framework and must be taken into account above and beyond UHC in any future health goal. As a result, we suggest that UHC alone will not result in universal access to sexual and reproductive health, and certainly not to sexual and reproductive rights. Instead, it should be considered as a means to achieving broader health and development goals. A goal such as seeking to reach the highest attainable standard of health or maximizing healthy lives that is informed by a rights-based approach should be the aspiration for the post-2015 development agenda.

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