Universal Health Coverage

Universal health coverage (UHC) is grounded in the principle that health is a human right. UHC is an aspiration rather than an intervention or a strategy. It means that people can access health care when they need it, without financial hardship. The private sector has an unprecedented opportunity to support governments, program implementers, and donors in achieving universal health coverage, including access to family planning services.

SHOPS Plus contributes to efforts to reach UHC by working to strengthen health systems and provide financial risk protection for those who need it most. Achieving the underlying objectives of UHC–equity, quality, and financial protection–requires public-private collaboration.

SHOPS Plus promotes private sector participation in initiatives that support UHC by:

  • Expanding health programs that include private providers
  • Brokering partnerships between public and private health actors
  • Advocating for public-private dialogue on the role of the private sector
  • Equipping private health providers with clinical and business skills, and access to finance to expand the scope of their practices and to improve quality of care
  • Building and disseminating evidence on best practices for private sector engagement in UHC

Examples of our work

Recognizing that there are many pathways to achieve UHC, SHOPS Plus assessed common health financing programs and their significance for family planning, paying particular attention to government-sponsored health insurance schemes. The project looked at the role of private providers and provider payment mechanisms on the performance of health financing programs. A forthcoming publication will discuss the implications of this assessment and what family planning advocates can do to champion more effective coverage.

In October 2016, SHOPS Plus convened 30 individuals representing a dozen organizations to discuss how to expand access to family planning and sustain its financing under UHC initiatives. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID co-sponsored the daylong meeting, in which donor and implementer organizations shared their insights and evidence. 

Countries: Madagascar, Senegal, Tanzania