Strengthening public resources for Universal Health Coverage

Each year on December 12th – Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day – advocates of UHC gather and raise their voices to call for more action to realize health for all without causing financial hardship. Wemos has joined this call with an interactive webinar and a new factsheet about public finance targets for UHC.

Many low- and middle-income countries are challenged to raise more public revenue to invest in their health systems, especially for primary level health services, to make progress towards UHC. As part of our work in the Health Systems Advocacy Partnership, we produced a fact sheet on the relative and absolute targets for health expenditure. By linking public expenditure for health to a country’s wealth, governments are motivated to enlarge fiscal space for health.


‘It really is about political commitment’

In our recent UHC webinar, emeritus professor Diane McIntyre (Health Economics Unit of Cape Town University) emphasized that although the target of ‘at least 5% of GDP’ for health is very ambitious for countries that raise only a small proportion of GDP for government revenue, ‘it really is about political commitment and constant moving towards larger fiscal space for health’. Professor Francis Omaswa (ACHEST) stressed the importance of having an absolute target for public expenditure on primary healthcare – ‘good health at low cost’ – because a relative target can be very volatile and, after all, ‘a percentage of very little, is very little’. He added that ‘strong governance and leadership by all are crucial’. The participants in the discussion made suggestions for civil society advocacy, warned to not solely emphasize the relative target in domestic resource mobilization, and flagged the need for aligned support from donors, the quality of public expenditure for health, and the joint challenge to counter tax avoidance by multinational corporations in their country.


diane mcintyre

Prof. Diane McIntyre

francis omaswa

Prof. Francis Omaswa











The time for collective action is now

The theme of this year’s UHC Day is ‘Unite for UHC: Now is the time for collective action’. Today, health is still not accessible for many people, in particularly the poorest and most marginalized. Wemos believes that access to health services should not depend on the content of a person’s wallet, geographic location, or societal status.


Visit our knowledge platform for more on UHC, health financing and HRH

Have a look at our fact sheet ‘Public finance targets for Universal Health Coverage’


Recent News items

This week: 72nd World Health Assembly


From May 20-28, the 72nd session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) will take place in Geneva, Switzerland. Each year, senior health officials from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Member States gather there to discuss the WHO’s progress, new goals and global health agenda and challenges. Wemos will be present as well as a civil society organization and attend sessions on Financing for Health, the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being and Access to Medicines.

Continue reading

Overpriced drugs developed with tax money


Research shows major Dutch public investments in drug development


Overpriced, a report published today jointly by The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporation (SOMO) and Wemos, examines the extent of Dutch public funding of drug development, through donations, loans and/or investments. This funding occurs both directly by financing development of new medicines, and indirectly through investments made into biotech companies, but channelled through universities, public research bodies, and national and regional investment funds. The report reveals, however, that because no conditions are set on these investments, the Government loses its chance to curb subsequent high drug prices.

Continue reading