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Universal Health Coverage

The importance of comprehensive eye care means that eye health needs to be a key part of universal health coverage.

What is universal health coverage?

According to the WHO, universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people receive the quality, essential health services they need, without being exposed to financial hardship.

UHC reflects a paradigm shift towards governments taking responsibility for ensuring all people have access to quality health care without suffering financial hardship. It is based on recognition of the right to health for all people. It acknowledges the need for strengthened health systems.

What is required to integrate eye health in universal health coverage?

Eye health needs to be integrated into UHC – promotion, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. This means including comprehensive eye care in social insurance and targeted schemes to reach poor and marginalised groups, and addressing blockages in systems such as insufficient human resources for eye health.

Progressing on eye health in universal health coverage will require maximising financing opportunities and holding governments to account for their responsibilities to provide affordable and accessible health services. Inclusion of eye health services in insurance can be the most effective means to promote scale-up and better reach those most in need. As health systems are increasingly financed from domestic sources, and as schemes advance and availability of services increases, eye health in universal health coverage will be vital to reducing avoidable blindness.

WHO: Universal Health Coverage - What does it mean?