Why Policy Dialogue Makes It Happen:

Moving jointly towards Universal Health Coverage

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is a political choice to be made by every nation: to ensure that all people and communities, without leaving anyone behind, receive the quality services they need, and are protected from health threats, without suffering financial hardship.

Treading the path towards UHC requires robust policies, political will and strong capacity of government to steer the health sector. Policy dialogue can be an important ‘steering wheel’ for governments to drive evidence-informed decision-making. Putting UHC into practice means brokering consensus amongst all relevant stakeholders on health priorities in order to jointly move towards set targets. Those priorities must then be spelled out in national health plans, in essence charting out the country’s road map towards UHC.

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5th Annual Meeting of the UHC Partnership: View an extended introduction to the partnership’s work


The UHC Partnership comprises a broad mix of health experts working hand in hand to promote UHC by fostering policy dialogue on strategic planning and health systems governance, developing health financing strategies and supporting their implementation, and enabling effective development cooperation in countries.

We combine sound technical expertise with political commitment, financial resources and long-standing work experience in health systems both in the international and national fields. Behind the scene: health policy advisors working closely together with national Ministries of Health, WHO country offices and partner delegations. Furthermore, these key stakeholders are supported by a large number of health experts from WHO regional offices and Headquarters as well as from the offices of the European Union, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and IrishAid.

Since its inception in 2011, the partnership has expanded steadily, reaching 115 member countries worldwide to date. Under the lead of the Ministry of Health, a roadmap comprising a set of activities to strengthen the national health system is defined in order to make significant progress towards UHC.

Our aim is to build country capacities and hence reinforce the leadership of the Ministry of Health to build resilient and effective health systems in a sustainable manner. We aim to bridge the gap between global commitments and country implementation on the ground; hence serving as a country-level resource for UHC2030, the global movement to build stronger health systems for UHC.


  • Convening and brokering

    We engage in policy dialogue, to coordinate and align plans across various levels of the health system, as well as between immediate humanitarian aid and long-term development concerns.

  • Being flexible

    We provide flexible funding for country-selected priority areas; flexibility also means that those priorities can change suddenly with a disease outbreak or a new government, or evolve over time with new insights learned at each step of implementation.

  • Having strong presence in countries

    We deploy senior health systems’ advisors, currently about 20, in WHO country offices, in direct support of the Ministry of Health. Backed up with WHO’s expertise from regional offices and headquarters, these advisors support the national authorities upon request, both for ad-hoc requests and long terms projects, in a timely and tailored manner.

  • Building capacity

    We provide support for capacity building so that the Ministry of Health is well equipped to face persistent and new challenges in the 21st century, by offering training at national and subnational levels.

  • Providing technical expertise on universal health coverage

    We draw on the technical expertise of WHO’s three administrative levels on universal health coverage. We collaborate with leading networks and communities of practice, pushing together for the UHC2030 agenda.

  • Cross-fertilizing knowledge between countries, regions and at global level

    We take advantage of the wealth of experience gained over the past years of programme implementation by shedding light on what works well and less well in putting in practice universal health coverage in countries. We convene forums for cross-country learning, publish on cross-cutting lessons learned for UHC, and produce normative guidance on health systems governance and financing.

At a Glance

  • 115


  • 6


  • >3


  • >120

    HEALTH POLICY ADVISORS ON THE GROUND (most of them in WHO country office level)

Three key pillars: