What is Universal Health Coverage?
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is the principle that everyone, everywhere should be able to access the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. Global leaders have committed to achieve UHC by 2030, but the world is currently off track to meet this target. The reality is that today half of the world’s population do not have access to the good quality and rights-based services they need, including mental health support.
On Human Rights Day 2020 we launched a new Universal Health Coverage report that fully lays out the latest evidence on how critical it is to integrate mental health into the UHC agenda, and how the world can do this. Authored by United for Global Mental Health and Prof Shekhar Saxena and reviewed by a team of experts including Dr Githinji Gitahi, Dr Lola Kola and a number of Speak Your Mind partner organisations, the report outlines the significance of good quality, rights-based mental health support within the UHC agenda and how decision makers can ensure its full integration into UHC programmes.
Our launch event
To mark the launch of our report, on Thursday 10th December we co-hosted a special webinar with the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism of UHC2030 at 9am EST, 2pm UK, 7:30pm IST.
Speakers included Shekhar Saxena, former Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the WHO, Safi Malik, the Director General (Health) at the Ministry of National Health Services Regulation & Coordination, Pakistan, Charlene Sunkel, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Mental Health Peer Network, Florence Temu, Country Director at Amref Health Africa Tanzania, and Champika Wickramasinghe, Deputy Director General, NCD, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka.
The notes and recording from the webinar can be found here.
Mental Health, UHC and Human Rights
As our report emphasised, the inclusion of mental health within UHC programmes will not only ensure the protection of the right to health for all, but also strengthen health systems worldwide. Ensuring a human rights based approach underpins this is a critical next step in meeting our targets for 2030.
That's why in December 2021 we built on our previous report to launch a new policy briefing. This acts as a how-to guide to implementing our recommendations, laying out some of the key evidence around this important issue.
BRIEFING: UHC & Mental Health Financing
The integration of mental health into universal health coverage (UHC) reforms during the run in to 2030 (the target year for the Sustainable Development Goals which include achieving UHC) is being promoted as a key pandemic response, recovery and preparedness element. Universal mental health coverage is a fundamental right, but how much will this cost and how can it be funded?
In our latest brief launched in March 2022, Financing Mental Health For All, United for Global Mental Health presents new findings that answers these questions and points to how feasible, and desirable, given the return on investment and positive health outcomes, achieving better services with wider coverage for mental healthcare could be.