Achieving universal health coverage in LMICs

Today, we are delighted to publish our report Achieving universal health coverage in LMICs: The role of quality of care research, from our workshop with the InterAcademy Partnership in May 2019.

Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all individuals and communities should have access to the full spectrum of essential and high-quality health systems. The global commitment towards achieving universal health coverage has made an essential part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Many countries are making progress towards achieving this, but in many Low and Middle income countries (LMICs), the quality of care provided remains sub-optimal jeopardising patient safety and wasting valuable resources.

To help identify ways to address this issue, we held a two-day workshop in partnership with the InterAcademy partnership on 29-30 May 2019 in London. The workshop formed part of our Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) policy work, and brought together 55 scientists, clinicians, policymakers and funders from 34 countries around the world.

The workshop allowed participants to consider the successes and challenges in improving access to high quality healthcare in LMIC’s, discussing five key areas:

  • Barriers and challenges to achieving high-quality UHC
  • Success stories
  • Regional and international commonalities
  • Research priorities
  • Collaborations

Participants identified that historically, the focus around provision of UHC has been on financing. However, this means there are still significant issues around quality of UHC, fragmentation of healthcare systems management and organisation of healthcare providers, the influence of political factors in UHC provision, and the need for clear assessment metrics to measure global progression on this issue.

Delegates outlined that improved research capacity, improved adoption of digital technologies, and more focus on effective human resources for training of healthcare providers should be made priorities to improve quality of care provided. They highlighted the opportunities that more collaboration could provide – better sharing of success stories and advocacy approaches, improved integration of quality of care into academic curricula, and establishment of mentorship programmes.

In the long term, it was felt that more governance and accountability is needed around quality care provision, and better recording of research and policy on how to provide UHC in the most effective way.

This report summarises the workshop recommendations on how to improve effective provision of quality UHC globally. For more information, the full report can be downloaded from the right-hand side of this page.

Watch our short animation which outlines the discussion and proposed actions to improve quality of care withing UHC: 

For more information about the workshop, please visit our dedicated policy page.

This workshop is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund that aims to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. Visit our GCRF webpage to read more about the fund and further policy workshops.

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