Improving Women’s Health through Universal Health Coverage

Title Improving Women’s Health through Universal Health Coverage
Year 2014
Author J. Quick, J. Jay and A. Langer
DOI 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001580
Journal PLoS Med
Document Type Journal Article
Document Availability Full Text
Classification Other complementary UHC initiatives
Abstract Unequal access to health care contributes to shortcomings in women’s health at all ages. The post-2015 United Nations development framework must address these inequalities globally. Universal health coverage (UHC) is considered a leading candidate among health-related targets. It is the one approach that reduces inequitable access and addresses the full range of women’s health issues with the full spectrum of health services. UHC has proven a powerful driver for women’s health in low- and middle-income countries including Afghanistan, Mexico, Rwanda, and Thailand. Success requires a gender-sensitive approach to design and implementation around (1) the essential services package, (2) improving access to services, (3) eliminating financial barriers, (4) reducing social barriers, and (5) performance monitoring. To expand coverage and effectively deliver quality services to all women, health systems must become stronger around leadership, management, financing, human resources, community involvement, and other critical elements. Essential measures of UHC include women’s access to health care, coverage equity for essential services for women, financial protection for women and impact on women’s health outcomes. Post-2015 UHC indicators should retain the Millennium Development Goals’ focus on priority health outcomes.  Women’s health must be a shared agenda for which success requires active engagement by country political and health leadership; civil society, including advocates for women’s health, sexual, and reproductive health rights; multilateral agencies; global health funders; and all others concerned with women’s health and equity.


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