Bergen Centre for Ethics and Priority Setting in Health (BCEPS)
Post-Covid-19 | Nature Medicine

Toward Universal Health Coverage in the Post-COVID-19 Era

In a Nature Medicine article published today, BCEPS researchers discuss the challenges of developing essential health service packages in resource-constrained settings.

Essential health care image
zeljkosantrac [Collection: E+ Getty Images]

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Toward universal health coverage in the post-COVID-19 era

Authors: Stéphane Verguet (Harvard University & BCEPS), Alemayehu Hailu (BCEPS, UiB), Getachew Teshome Eregata (ACEPS -Addis Centre for Ethics and Priority Setting & BCEPS), Solomon Tessema Memire (ACEPS -Addis Centre for Ethics and Priority Setting & BCEPS), Kjell Arne Johansson (BCEPS, UiB), Ole Frithjof Norheim (BCEPS, UiB & Harvard University)

Important messages from the article:

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, advancement toward universal health coverage (UHC) will become more difficult for many countries, demonstrating that locally led priority setting is urgently needed to provide health services with appropriate financial protection to all.
  • All countries worldwide have signed up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and made a commitment to the objective of achieving universal health coverage. Getting there will require understanding how packages of essential health services can be developed in resource-constrained settings and how experts and the public can make decisions about which health services should be provided free of charge.
  • A well-designed essential benefit package can save lives, reduce health disparities and protect against impoverishment. Fair priority setting is a first stepping stone towards UHC, and countries can learn from each other on how to best define essential services.