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Universal Health Coverage Day

Every year on 12 December, the world celebrates International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day). This official UN-designated day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong, equitable, and resilient health systems and universal health coverage (UHC) while marking the anniversary of the UN’s historic and unanimous endorsement of UHC in 2012 as an essential priority for international development.

Universal health coverage (UHC) is firmly based on the 1946 WHO Constitution, which declares health a fundamental human right and commits to ensuring the highest attainable level of health for all.

It represents the aspiration that everyone receives good quality health services, when and where needed, without incurring financial hardship.

That ambition constitutes a set of targets in the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development (SDG 3.8). In addition to supporting good health and well-being, UHC also contributes to social inclusion, gender equality, poverty eradication, economic growth, and human dignity.


The current situation

One billion more people are benefitting from universal health coverage however it is forecasted that the billion target will not be reached by 2023, and progress is less than 1/4 of that required to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030

Therefore, urgent actions are needed to achieve the target of having an additional one billion people enjoying UHC by 2030. Based on current trends, approximately 730 million people will miss out on UHC; if the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruptions are taken into account, that shortfall could rise to 840 million.

Although the pandemic has affected everyone, COVID-19 has forced poor and vulnerable populations into even more precarious positions. Much more needs to be done to serve and protect these groups in emergencies.

SIGBI as an organisation has charitable objectives that we are all working towards, this is 4.1b the advancement of health and saving lives; And 4.1c the advancement of equality and diversity. Doing work around these areas helps us to fulfil our obligations to meet the Sustainable development goals as outlined below.

SDG 3 aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages. Health and well-being are important at every stage of one’s life, starting from the beginning. This goal addresses all major health priorities: reproductive, maternal, new-born, child, and adolescent health; communicable and non-communicable diseases; universal health coverage; and access for all to safe, effective, quality, and affordable medicines and vaccines.

Goal 3 also calls for deeper investments in research and development, health financing and health risk reduction and management.

To read more about Health and the universal health coverage day, please look at which includes a resource mobilisation guide if you wish to do more in this area

For health data see

Recognising the need for greater collaboration and harmonisation across health stakeholders and programmes, the Coalition of Partnerships for UHC and Global Health was set up which unites health leaders and advocates in a common goal to align advocacy and accountability efforts to achieve UHC and advance the SDGs.

The Coalition brings together a wide range of thematic areas, and its members include Stop TB PartnershipWHO Global NCD PlatformPartnership for Maternal, New-born & Child Health (PMNCH)the RBM Partnership to End MalariaUNAIDSUHC2030, and the NCD Alliance.

UHC Leaves No One Behind: Let’s work together towards good health & wellbeing for all.

Film UHC Leaves No One Behind: Let’s work together towards good health & wellbeing for all. Lasts 2.47 minutes

So, The Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) on 12 December is the annual rallying point for us as advocates to raise our voices and share the stories of the millions of people still waiting for health, to call on leaders to make smarter investments in health and remind the world about the imperative of UHC.

The relevant hashtags are

 #HealthForAll #UHCDay #Soroptimistsstandupforwomen

Lindsay Green
SIGBI Programme Director