When countries signed the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, they committed to work toward universal health coverage. Almost a year later, hurdles to achieving the goal remain.
According to Marie-Paule Kieny, the WHO assistant director-general for Health Systems and Innovation, “the UHC target is the linchpin of the health-related SDGs; the one target that, if achieved, will help to deliver all the others.” But first, obstacles including the continued gap between the supply and demand of trained health workers—a problem that is particularly acute for lower income countries—must be addressed.
Countries must also address the ever-increasing price of medicines. To assist, the WHO plans to convene governments, patient groups and industry stakeholders to discuss a fair pricing model that can both increase access and reward companies for continued innovation.