2019 United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage

On 23 September 2019, the UN will hold a High-Level Meeting to discuss and adopt a UN Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

ESMO provided input to the UN Political Declaration on UHC by submitting an official statement during the  UN multi-stakeholder hearing on universal health coverage on 29 April 2019. The ESMO statement supports universal health coverage for cancer patients based on ESMO’s commitment to health as a human right, not a privilege.

The ESMO statement requested that the United Nations Political Declaration on UHC state that countries must guarantee their entire population ‘universal health coverage benefit packages’ that ensure financial protection for patients, and include a core set of comprehensive, safe, affordable, effective and quality cancer prevention, treatment, and palliative care services. This would contribute to reducing cancer deaths worldwide. It would also require that governments strengthen primary care, guarantee referral services to secondary and tertiary facilities, and maintain comprehensive cancer registries to measure progress.

What is universal health coverage (UHC)

Universal health coverage (UHC)  is founded on the 1948 United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights that states that health is a basic human right and everyone everywhere should be able to enjoy the highest possible attainable standard of health. It means that all people and communities can receive essential, quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care, without suffering financial hardship.

The WHO focuses on three dimensions of UHC

  • Percentage of the population covered by health services
  • Reduction of the patient’s portion of direct costs for health services
  • Number and quality of health services offered by the national health system
UN and WHO Declarations and Resolutions calling for Universal Health Coverage
ONU High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage