WHO calls for universal health coverage research

By HHR editorial assistant Krista Oehlke

Posted September 5, 2013

A female doctor with the International Medical Corps examines a

The World Health Organization has called for continued investment in local and global research toward the advancement of universal health coverage. “World health report 2013: Research for universal health coverage” follows a UN resolution made in December 2012, which encouraged governments to fortify universal healthcare as part of the international agenda.

The report emphasizes continued domestic involvement in research in order to address country-specific needs. Through an abundance of evidence, it reveals the benefits of creativity and innovation in the changing research landscape, and lays out 12 case studies that “illustrate the diversity of problems for which research can offer solutions.” These case studies also demonstrate how evidence-based research can guide health policy and practice.

The final chapters suggest methods for improving implementation, making the case for increased transparency and accountability in research funding and strengthened research in academic centers and public health programs. National governments and international donors can also play a role in bolstering research training and institutions.

WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan has previously deemed universal coverage “the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer.” At the report’s launch in Beijing, China, she said, “Universal coverage is the best way to cement the health gains made during the previous decade. It is a powerful social equalizer and the ultimate expression of fairness.”

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Photo by DFID – UK Department for International Development [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons